Thursday, August 09, 2007

Public relations

One of my favourite movies is a fairly obscure little film called Shattered Glass. In it, a New Republic editor discovers to his horror that his star writer has been fabricating stories. While time is compressed and two women were apparently merged into one, the movie is apparently fairly accurate in its portrayal of what happened. In the real world, The New Republic investigated, fired the writer and issued an apology.

That is the way that responsible adults of any stripe behave. We make mistakes. We apologize for those mistakes, and we pay for them. Then we make sure not to repeat the same error twice.

Unfortunately for the New Republic, they've been caught once again with 'cooked stories'. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, a private in the Army, provided TNR with some hot 'n juicy stories about himself and his peers misbehaving in Iraq. TNR apparently found them plausible enough to print them. Unfortunately for TNR, they're entirely fictional. The change from the Stephen Glass incident is that TNR is not owning up to its mistake.

The Beauchamp fiasco will cost TNR dearly. Credibility is a precious commodity in todays information age. Even among the New Republic's true believers, doubt and skepticism will creep in.

But until they apologize for their severe lapses in judgment, I will not be able to believe anything they print. Adults apologize of their own will. Children do so only when forced. I have no interest in the opinions of children. And there seem to be more and more persons of advanced years who are nothing but children, whether in leftie news magazines or elsewhere.

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