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Reporting Beauchamp

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Spencer Ackerman has a very interesting article about Scott Beauchamp and Elspeth Reeve. The whole thing is very much worth reading. The executive summary:

I ended up interviewing Beauchamp a couple times — once in person and over email a couple times — and did a bunch of follow-up reporting. And I came to a much different conclusion than I started out suspecting: Scott Thomas Beauchamp did not lie and did not misrepresent his service. The New Republic’s investigation did not uncover any such misrepresentation, and yet the magazine threw him under the bus to spare itself the controversy. Yet it was also true that TNR was the victim of cynical misportrayal from conservatives.

The fundamental problems with trying to report stories recounted by a still-serving soldier — most importantly, that the sources who could effectively corroborate Beauchamp’s account won’t go on the record — mean that deciding whether to trust Beauchamp remains a gut judgment. We still don’t really know if the stories hold up — but nor, with the exception of one error in location, have any been convincingly rebutted.

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