In retrospect, we never should have put Beauchamp in this situation. He was a young soldier in a war zone, an untried writer without journalistic training. We published his accounts of sensitive events while granting him the shield of anonymity--which, in the wrong hands, can become license to exaggerate, if not fabricate.
When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.
Foer's chief critic responds here. After reading all of this, I have to say that I don't trust Beauchamp's credibility, even though the alleged facts in the matter remain murky. At some point, trust in the writer is essential. The one sin that is impossible to defend is assigning Beauchamp's wife as his fact-checker. That simply shouldn't happen. But Frank's painfully extensive re-reporting and final conclusion are not the work of someone ducking editorial responsibility or accountability.
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