I’m not through discussing Tim Rutten’s numerous errors in his Beauchamp column. One of them raises a very important question: what does it mean to the credibility of the paper when Rutten says Drudge didn’t provide a particular document — and it turns out Drudge did, but the paper won’t acknowledge that?
To make the point clear, let’s recall exactly what Rutten said.
The Drudge writer, whoever that may be, then went on to list four documents he or she had obtained. [Description follows of the first three.] The fourth document, according to Drudge, was “a signed ‘Memorandum for Record’ in which Beauchamp recants his stories and concedes the facts of the Army’s investigation — that his stories contained ‘gross exaggerations and inaccurate allegations of misconduct’ by his fellow soldiers.”
It was interesting to note that Drudge provided links to the transcripts and report but not to the purported “Memorandum for Record.”
In the documents Drudge posted was a document labeled:
Click here and scroll to the last two pages to read it. The Memorandum of Concern is the second to last page. The Memorandum for Record, acknowledging receipt of the Memorandum of Concern, is the last page.
Rutten said that Drudge didn’t post the document, but Drudge did.
So Michael Goldfarb and I brought this clear error to the paper’s attention. Here was the defense offered:
Rutten’s assessment is that it was not clear that the memo at the end of the military officer’s report/summary is the same one to which Drudge’s original post referred. The columnist’s thinking: Drudge lists it apart from the final document, but — as Rutten wrote — Drudge provides no link, nor does he say it can be found at the end of the report, seeming to indicate possession of another document, but providing no link. I don’t believe that Rutten’s column warrants correction on that point.
That defense — if you can even understand it — fails for one simple reason. An image is worth a thousand words:
I have just shown you all the links and proof you need to conclude that Tim Rutten and his paper aren’t telling you the truth about this. What’s more, when confronted with the facts, they refuse to acknowledge and correct them.
Who are you going to believe? Tim Rutten, or your lying eyes?
The document exists, he knows it, and he and his paper are lying to you about it. Pure and simple.
Here’s my question, and I think it’s a very important one: if the paper is willing to lie about this, what else are they lying to you about? And: what if the evidence to show they are lying weren’t in the public domain?
What else is this newspaper telling you doesn’t exist, that actually does?
P.S. I can prove to you that Tim Rutten never saw this document before he wrote his column. Because it confirms Rutten’s claim about what it would say. The Memorandum of Record is not, as the Drudge item mistakenly claimed, a retraction. Rutten is correct to say that the Memorandum is merely an acknowledgement that he has seen a document the Army showed him.
That’s how we know that Rutten didn’t bother to read all the documents. No reporter runs across documentary proof of his claim and fails to note its existence. If Ruttten had seen the document, he wouldn’t have said:
(In fact, signing such a document — if it exists — is not an admission of guilt, but merely an acknowledgment that the person under investigation has been shown the contents.)
And he wouldn’t have said:
Since there was no link to the purported memorandum, we must take its existence on faith.
He would have said something like this:
In fact, Drudge completely mischaracterizes the document titled “Memorandum for Record.” Although Drudge claims the Memorandum is an admission of guilt, it is actually nothing more than a mere acknowledgment that Beauchamp had been shown the Memorandum of Concern.
The fact of the matter is that Tim Rutten skimmed the documents and didn’t notice the Memorandum for Record. So he mistakenly said it didn’t exist.
That mistake has been brought to his attention, and he and his paper are trying to sweep it under the rug.