Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek Condemned and Defended

First Newsweek retracted. The retraction was anything but contrite. They then made excuses. Now they contend that the whole fiasco just isn’t that big of a deal. Even Pakistan and Afghanistan disagree.

Pakistan: Newsweek Retraction 'Not Enough'

Afghanistan's government said Tuesday that Newsweek should be held responsible for damages caused by deadly anti-American demonstrations after the magazine alleged U.S. desecration of the Quran, and it suggested that foreign forces may have helped turn protests violent.

Pakistan joined the international criticism of the magazine's article and said Newsweek's apology and retraction were "not enough."

Afghan presidential spokesman Jawed Ludin said Newsweek's retraction Monday was a "positive step" toward clearing up concern about the report.

"But at the same time, we feel angered at the way this story has been handled," Ludin told a news conference Tuesday. "It's only fair to say at this stage that Newsweek can be held responsible for the damages caused by their story."

How does a major news outlet take one anonymous source and turn his/her comments into an inflammatory story, costing lives and dishonoring US soldiers? And why is there not Hell to pay?! Why is the main stream media circling the wagons around Newsweek? My own home town paper tries to explain how we are all just overreacting in Howard Kurtz’ Media Notes.

I wouldn’t have noticed, but they used yours truly as an example. I appreciate the pub and the link Howard, but I can’t believe you expect the public at large to go for it.

But the blogosphere has been denouncing Newsweek for far worse than making a terrible mistake. According to some online critics, Newsweek (owned by The Washington Post Co.) was on a crusade to make the military and the U.S. government look bad.

And goes on to quote one of the more irritating bloggers, among others:

'Tran Sient's Watch goes with the headline "Newsweek Slanders US Soldiers, Causes Deaths":

"I was done for the day until I saw this. Dan Rather would be proud. But even Dan didn't get anyone killed!"'

Well let me explain. Newsweek wanted this to be true. They had another scandal in the works. Everyone who edited the story wanted it to be true. There was no ‘crusade’, just a room full of willful idiots. Let your dreams become reality. The whole affair would have passed unnoticed, but it turns out that Newsweek has a following among jihadist head cases in Afghanistan. How could anyone believe that the image of evil Americans flushing copies of the holy book down the john would go over with a hug and a smile amongst the crazies? Well it happened at Newsweek. No conspiracy here. No journalism either.