Looks like Elspeth Reeve, wife of the fabulist ‘Baghdad Diarist’ Scott Beauchamp, has been let go at The New Republic.
Awhile back, the first casualty of the truth was Robert McGee, who dared to confront Franklin Foer and reveal the details of the conversation:
By Richard Miniter
Just as the world was beginning to wonder if The New Republic had been tricked by a fabricator for the third time in the past decade, the magazine’s staff went to a party.
It was a going-away party for a longtime New Republic senior editor Ryan Lizza, but the staff seemed more interested in discussing the magazine’s immediate future. It was July 20 and the avalanche of questions about a first-person “diarist” piece under the pseudonym “Scott Thomas” –a direct threat to the magazine’s credibility—was starting to tumble down.
The staff gathered at New Republic Editor Franklin Foer’s Northwest Washington home. Foer asked them not to worry; the editors would investigate the charges.
Later that night, Robert McGee, a then-assistant to The New Republic’s publisher, went looking for the host. He is curious what Foer thinks about the building scandal. He wants the inside dope.
He finds Foer on the front porch and asks as casually as he can: “So, what’s up with this?”
As McGee recalls the conversation, Foer immediately volunteered the standard answer: conservatives have an ideological grudge to settle because they perceive the magazine to be anti-war, anti-military and so on.
“He sounded almost rehearsed,” McGee said.
What bothered McGee about the conversation was that Foer saw the questions from the bloggers as a completely ideological attack. “Foer wasn’t acknowledging that at least some of the attacks on the [Beauchamp’s] ‘Shock Troops’ piece came from active-duty military members whose skepticism was factually grounded, and not just from stateside political pundits.”
Perhaps because McGee worked on the business side of the magazine on the first floor and not with the editors and writers on the second, Foer didn’t consider him a genuine insider—and therefore gave him the company line. But McGee believes that Foer was speaking his mind.
Then the conversation turned to Beauchamp himself. Foer told McGee that soldier-writer was “an articulate guy on the front lines.”
McGee disagreed, thinking Beauchamp “wasn’t that rare of an asset.”
The web is fat with currently serving soldiers in Iraq posting their views as well as the reporting of embedded journalists and retired officers. He told Foer that “the military bloggers were just as qualified, if not more.”
“At that time, my main reason [for talking to Foer] was that I was sympathetic to the military service members who had already weighed in,” McGee explained. “Sympathetic (a) because I felt their skepticism was reasonable on factual grounds, and (b) because I fully understood their grievance that Scott Thomas Beauchamp’s anecdotes — though written in the breast-beating tone of a first-person confessional — effectively attacked the professionalism of everyone around him, and not just the personal character of Beauchamp himself.”
Foer did not see it that way.
What Foer did not tell McGee was that Beauchamp was married to Elspeth Reeve, one of the magazine’s three fact-checkers (a point that the press missed too). So Beauchamp was effectively an insider—and would get treated as such.
In another move to bury their incompetent screw up, TNR has apparently let go Beauchamp’s wife and partner in yellow journalism. Ostensibly, her internship had ‘expired’ and she’s now working as a research assistant for Mike Grunwald, a senior leftwing correspondent for Time Magazine.
What timing. Can you say “purge”?
A search of TNR online reveals that she’s been removed from the masthead list of reporter-researchers. They haven’t bothered to comment any further since 16 August, when Peter Beinhart tapdanced around the questions posed in an interview with Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-Large of the National Review Online.
Foer is still hiding under his desk.