On October 12 — shortly after the news broke that Scott Beauchamp had spoken with editors of The New Republic and refused to stand by his story — I asked a very simple question:
if Scott Beauchamp can’t stand by his story, how can The New Republic stand by his story?
As it turns out, they can’t.
Bob Owens reports that TNR has issued a statement, amusingly titled Fog of War. (In the “Fog of War,” who can remember whether they mocked a disfigured woman in Iraq or in Kuwait?) Buried deep down in the TNR statement is this:
When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.
In my October post, I said:
Where I suspect this is headed is simple: the editors can’t hide forever. Sooner or later they are going to have to address this. And if they can’t get something solid from Beauchamp, then they are going to have to retract the story.
. . . .
And if, as Power Line suggests, the content of their conversation with Beauchamp becomes public, and it suggests that what I have said above is true — that despite a public face of confidence in their story, they were actually trembling with fear over their reputations — then the fallout will be very ugly indeed.
I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the fallout. In fact, I think it may be just beginning.
Stay tuned to Pajamas Media for a more detailed reaction from Bob.
UPDATE: The Instapundit says:
AMIDST A CLOUD OF INK, TNR RETRACTS AND FLEES THE SCENE.
That’s a great metaphor. It’s a reference to the octopus, which squirts out ink as a defense mechanism. Here is an elaboration of the metaphor by a prosecutor, who used it to portray defense arguments as an effort to obscure the truth:
I am reminded of a story that the writer, Victor Hugo, tells us about an octopus who really has no feet to attack its enemies like a bird, it has no claws like a lion and it has no teeth like an alligator. What the octopus does when it attacks is it releases a big pouch filled with ink into the water, and this ink is released and it clouds up the water. And the octopus swims away while the water is still muddied up, and his enemies cannot see him.
Why I tell you that is you have been given a big ink pouch in this case.
Similarly, as the Instapundit notes, TNR editors have issued their retraction in the middle of a big cloud of ink. But it won’t work. We are still able to behold the form of the retreating octopus.
UPDATE x2: Michelle Malkin: “Buh-bye, Franklin Foer.” (Thanks for the link, Michelle.)
UPDATE x3: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. He adds: “My take? Push the button, Frank.”
An octopus metaphor and an MST3K reference, all in fewer than 50 words. Now that’s how you express concepts clearly and concisely. No octopus ink there!
UPDATE x4: I discuss the takeaway points from Foer’s piece here. My favorite: TNR let Beauchamp’s wife participate in fact-checking one of his stories.