I’m tentatively scheduled to be on Howard Kurtz’s Reliable Sources” program on CNN Sunday morning — I’m told we’ll be talking about The New Republic, a possible return for Don Imus, and the end of TimesSelect, although that may change.
In New Republic news, Confederate Yankee talked to one of the magazine’s sources for its “fact checking” and finds that they didn’t really ask him to verify what Beauchamp wrote (and never showed him the relevant section of article to see Beauchamp’s description), they just asked him general questions about the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Once CY shows him Beauchamp’s description, the reaction is one of detailed skepticism.
I’ve enjoyed The New Republic in the past, and part of me felt a bit of pity for the magazine stepping right into a perfect sequel to Stephen Glass’s story (Hayden Christensen, call your agent) but this is bad. This suggests that TNR really didn’t want to find evidence to contradict their man’s account, and organized their “fact checking” in a way to ensure that they found the result they wanted to find: “Oh, everything’s fine, it all checks out.” This i as close to a smoking gun of malfeasance on the part of TNR as we’ve seen in this story.
This, by the way, was exactly what Dan Rather and CBS did to their “experts” in the whole memo mess back in 2004.
UPDATE: The latest comment from the New Republic’s editors essentially complains that the Army isn’t willing to share information about it’s investigation into Beauchamp’s claims. The editors also claim that Beauchamp signed some papers “under pressure.”
I’d feel better if they had addressed the points raised by Confederate Yankee – that their “fact checking” of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s capabilities didn’t include asking the BFV expert whether Beauchamp’s account sounds plausible to him. The expert concurs with points raised by other bloggers that the driver of the vehicle cannot easily see the front right end of the vehicle, making the swerving-to-target-and-kill-dogs story seem implausible.