This Harper’s Magazine story just will not die.
The AdWeek writer concludes that the “story about detainees’ deaths doesn’t hold up.”
Koppelman is the latest person to investigate Horton’s work, following in the footsteps of First Things‘ Joe Carter — who, it should be noted, called Harper’s “a second-rate liberal rag that fails to produce quality work” — and Slate‘s Jack Shafer.
All three take issue with some of Horton’s conclusions, but both Harper’s and ASME continue to stand by the piece.
We contacted Harper‘s spokeswoman Kathy Park Price, who noted a couple of issues with Koppelman’s report.
“Please link to Luke Mitchell‘s response to Jack Shafer from over a year ago. AdWeek ignored this letter,” she wrote in an email.
Additionally, “Scott Horton’s article in Harper’s Magazine does not say that the detainees were murdered as AdWeek states. Our article raises questions about the official account.”
That statement is factually correct — Horton does not explicitly say the detainees were murdered — but it does imply they were. The case against Horton’s feature is not black and white; there is plenty of grey area, not unlike what probably happened at Gitmo.
Koppelman’s conclusion: “Horton’s piece had all the elements of a great story: a gripping narrative, a whistle-blower, an explosive expose, and a murder mystery — not to mention an admirable aim: to speak truth to power. But its approach was less methodical reporting and more conspiracy building, favouring the evidence that supports the conspiracy view and minimising the evidence that does not.”
And there is some truth to those words. But you could also say the same thing about most of the reporting done trying to take down Horton’s story.