Some of the usual suspects in the media were quick to accept the New Republic's strange defense last week that it had checked out its Baghdad Diarist's questionable reports from Iraq about witnessing astonishing atrocities by fellow soldiers in Iraq and found them to be accurate, citing anonymous corroborators.
Nevertheless, the New Republic observed piously, the Army, in launching its own internal investigation, has short-circuited that of the New Republic's intrepid editors.
Wait a minute: Jayzus, their defense is based on anonymous sources!
I think this war is an atrocity that will haunt even my children's generation, but that doesn't mean I'm going to buy into some obviously phony reporting by a clearly questionable character who happens to be married to a New Republic reporter/researcher. (In journalism talk, that title means glorified editorial clerk).
And by the way, I had no similar problems with the veracity of recent, solid reporting on the same subject in the Nation magazine.
But from the get-go, it seemed to me, the florid writing by this chump, whose real name turns out to be Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, smelled wrong. By the way, that's Pvt. as in private and not even Pfc. as in private first class. For a buck private, as I said in the initial post on this subject on July 26, that Beauchamp boy did seem to have an awful lot of mobility.
The Weekly Standard now is reporting online that Our Hero has confessed to fabricating the allegations. The New Republic -- scene of the infamous Stephen Glass fabrications -- has continued to stand by them. For how long?
[Update, Aug. 8 -- The Army issued this statement yesterday: "An investigation has been completed and the allegations by Pvt. Beauchamp were found to be false. His platoon and his company were interviewed and no one could substantiate the claims." The New Republic, despite admitting that one of the anecdotes it published was false, continues to stand by the other stories.]