Roger L. Simon

TNR - Changing the Story

Changing the story when you’re under attack is such an overused and obvious technique that you’d think people would be embarrassed to employ it. But not Jonathan Chait at The New Republic who jumps into the fray with a largely ad hominem attack on William Kristol in order to deflect criticism of TNR in the ongoing Scott Beauchamp scandal.

Chait does not respond at all to the many details and questions about TNR and Beauchamp raised in Richard Miniter’s Pajamas Media story of a few days ago. It’s hard to believe that Chait was unaware of the story since it was linked on the Drudge Report and viewed by over a hundred thousand people. But just to make sure, PJM has arranged for the link to be sent directly to Chait’s email. It would be interesting to see how he responds to Miniter’s reporting that Beauchamp was married to a fact-checker at The New Republic (among a raft of other uncomfortable truths).

Chait can choose to make this an ideological food fight, but it is not. This is a story about media and how it functions. The fact that Dan Rather lost his job because he could not admit a mistake should have been a lesson for all. Apparently The New Republic, despite Shattered Glass, etc., has not learned it.

UPDATE: PJM is following blogger reaction.

FURTHER UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that Chait’s story appeared in the print version of TNR and therefore closed before the Miniter/Pajamas Media story. It is worth noting, however, that the PJM story has been out for two days now with no response from TNR that we know of. Chait’s response to the Weekly Standard was, as noted, a non-response anyway.