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July 20, 2007

Breaking: TNR "Investigating" "Scott Thomas"

But so far they say it looks solid.

Which is, you know, exactly how Stephen Glass' stories looked the first few times they looked into them.

Whenever anybody levels serious accusations against a piece published in our magazine, we take those charges seriously. Indeed, we're in the process of investigating them. I've spoken extensively with the author of the piece and have communicated with other soldiers who witnessed the events described in the diarist. Thus far, these conversations have done nothing to undermine--and much to corroborate--the author's descriptions. I will let you know more after we complete our investigation.

There are other soldiers who witnessed these events? That's surprising to me, but, assuming it's true (which, alas, I do) it does tend to clear TNR of the charges of allowing a new Stephen Glass to write for them.

Doesn't mean what this guy is saying is true -- but it does at least mean they have something besides his say-so for the stories.

I have to say, though, that there's a lot of wiggle-room in that claim. Corroboration is claimed, but not what specifically has been corroborated. That he was based where he says he was based? That hardly means his specific claims about what he saw there were true.

TNR needs to explain, quickly, what specific parts of "Scott Thomas'" warcrimes travelogue are corrobrated by other witnesses and to what extent. I'd be interested to know if, say, the "corroboration" for the dog-crushing driver consists of something like "Yeah, I heard that once too."


Thanks to Drew.

More: Gunbunny Confederate Yankee On Those Unique Square-Backed Glocks Used By The IP: Not so unique.

Glock pistols have been on the commercial market for decades, and are quite common worldwide. Glocks are a common and favored handgun on the Iraqi black market:

Glock pistols were also easy to find. One young Iraqi man, Rebwar Mustafa, showed a Glock 19 he had bought at the bazaar in Kirkuk last year for $900. Five of his friends have bought identical models, he said.

He includes citations for various Glocks being captured from insurgents or sold on the black market.

This bit doesn't suggest Scott Thomas is a fabulist, or ignorant, so much as it suggests he's willing to make fairly large inferences based on slight evidence to get a juicy story for his pals at TNR. I think the whole square-back mystery is well solved -- he either carelessly wrote "square back" to indicate the square indentation from the firing pin, or else his gun-ignorant editor attempted to simplify his language and in so doing made it inaccurate -- but his claim -- that he therefore knew the IP must be responsible for a killing -- is hardly compelled by the evidence.

It seems more compelled by the imperative to produce exciting, dramatic, propagandistic copy.

And it doesn't lend much credence to his other claims.


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posted by Ace at 06:41 PM

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