Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsweek Was Wrong

I wrote an earlier post on Muslim mayhem and the deaths and injuries that resulted from a Newsweek report, based on one unnamed source, that interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Qur'an down a toilet. The last line of the post was, "And what if Newsweek was wrong?"

Well. Newsweek was wrong. Read their weak, pathetic admission here.

24 Comments:

Blogger sygamel said...

The media has never been concerned whether something they write may be inflammatory or not. The only way they might be is if some of their readership abandons them, and hopefully that will happen. Disgraceful.

Still love your site, Tom -- most even-handed blogging I've seen. Keep up the good work.

2:19 PM, May 15, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Scott, thanks for the kind words.

The sad thing is that much of the major media seems to be infected with a pernicious ideology that assumes most things about the U.S. are bad, and they readily buy into anything that supports that view. Think how different it would be if, before publishing a report like this from one unnamed source, they would stop and think, "You know, this seems unlikely. Maybe we need more than one anonymous source before we report it."

2:27 PM, May 15, 2005  
Blogger Tran Sient said...

Is Rather working for them now?

3:18 PM, May 15, 2005  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

Well, they are happy enough to rant on about the CIA's responsibility for not having perfect intelligence. I suppose they don't feel the same sense of responsibility themselves.

It does not seem to have occurred to the fine journalistic brains and the layers of factcheckers over there that it is impossible to flush a book down a toilet. They probably don't know what the Koran is.

You know what? I started boycotting Newsweek years ago. Whatever caused my distaste is wiped from my brain, but I know it was stupid and irresponsible. Americans should boycott the rag.

5:31 PM, May 15, 2005  
Blogger Junebugg said...

When will people learn that "I'm sorry" only goes so far. I've know more than several who think that they can do whatever and then say the magic words "I'm sorry" and everythings supposed to be OK. And what ever happened to responsible journalism??

5:46 PM, May 15, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

Let's see if we can lend a little perspective here; commenters are upset Newsweek may have have gotten a story wrong because a Govt. source has sort of backtracked on an original assertion concerning an incident involving a Koran. And let's bear in mind, there have been well-documented abuses at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Baghram, etc. which may not have involved religious texts but certainly crossed the line WRT human decency.

Ok, fair enough.

Where then, is the outrage over a certain SecDef telling the US public that not only does Iraq have WMD but "[w]e know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat"?

6:02 PM, May 15, 2005  
Blogger sygamel said...

I thought that was disgraceful as well, but I thought and said so two years ago. The Newsweek story is in the here and now.

6:58 PM, May 15, 2005  
Blogger Tran Sient said...

'commenters are upset Newsweek may have have gotten a story wrong because a Govt. source has sort of backtracked on an original assertion concerning an incident involving a Koran.'

Actually, commenters are upset because Newsweek caused riots killing people and undermined years of work in trying to build up good will in Afghanistan and around the Middle East.

12:03 AM, May 16, 2005  
Anonymous AHS MilBlogger said...

If I were not in Iraq and if I had a little more time on my hands, I would get a list of all companies that advertise in Newsweek, get their contact information, publish it, and start a boycott of their products, so long as they advertise in Newsweek (and any other news outlet that provides aid and comfort to the enemy, such as CBS with Abu Ghraib and whoever broke the "Marine shooting an unarmed prisoner" BS). If anyone wants to run with this idea, feel free to do so without giving me any credit. I just want to see these scum punished.

12:11 AM, May 16, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

TS -- well said. MoM too! This disgusts me beyond words. What does Newsweek plan to do for the families of the 16 (I think) dead from the riots their words caused?

12:31 AM, May 16, 2005  
Anonymous JadeGold said...

Actually, commenters are upset because Newsweek caused riots killing people and undermined years of work in trying to build up good will in Afghanistan and around the Middle East.

An almost textbook example of a logical fallacy.

Arthur Silber does a nice job of explaining why the post hoc logical fallacy doesn't work.

Additionally, it shows reports of Koran desecration at Gitmo have been around for at least a year.

As an added bonus, there is also the expected foolishness from Ms. Maglalang.

8:11 AM, May 16, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

Pathetic admission is right.

"Additionally, it shows reports of Koran desecration at Gitmo have been around for at least a year."

Are those reports accurate or just rumors? If they are just rumors should the news report them or wait until they have some facts to back them up?

11:22 AM, May 16, 2005  
Blogger cass said...

Perhaps their anonymous source was correct, but is now backtracking due to the flareup of violence the remarks caused. I don't read Newsweek, so I really shouldn't comment. However, the Koran is just a book, like the Bible is just a book, and the American flag is just a flag. Yes, they are symbolic, but does ruining the item really ruin the symbolism? *shrugs* I majored in journalism, and the first thing I learned was to always check your sources. I cannot believe the recent instances of faked sources, faked quotes, faked everything (including fabricated and plagiarized stories) lately in the mainstream media. If in doubt, don't go to print/publish/broadcast with it. Who's watching the watchdogs??? Is the struggle for ratings and circulation so great that common sense has flown out the window? Everybody needs to get over themselves.

11:27 AM, May 16, 2005  
Blogger cass said...

TC, on a totally unrelated note, what do you think about the proposed national ID cards that are supposed to be approved soon in the latest defense spending bill (if I remember correctly)?

11:32 AM, May 16, 2005  
Anonymous JadeGold said...

Are those reports accurate or just rumors? If they are just rumors should the news report them or wait until they have some facts to back them up?

Gindy, let me ask you--what would you consider to be 'facts' that Korans were desecrated?

If you follow the link (and associated links contained therein), you have a number of accounts of the Koran being desecrated--are all of them lying? Maybe.

But let's remember, the Newsweek story cited a US Govt. source. Should we not believe the US Govt?

12:11 PM, May 16, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Thanks to all for your comments!

Cass, the ID bill you're talking about, I think, is the so-called "Read ID" measure. It requires states to establish that driver's license applicants are in the U.S. legally, have a valid Social Security number, etc. In a perfect world we wouldn't need to do that, but as we've so painfully learned, the world isn't perfect. I think it's a good idea, as I explained in an earlier post.

Gindy, most if not all of the reports of Qur'an abuse and some other kinds of abuses have come from released prisoners and their sympathizers. That kind of stuff is good enough for much of the media because it's anti-American, but I think I'd need to confirm it before I reported it.

Jadegold, the "U.S. govt source" you referred to is an anonymous leaker who, it turns out, can't even remember where he got the information, if he got it at all. In addition to breaking regulations and probably a few laws by leaking, he certainly has no status as a government official in this context. You really do understand that, don't you?

2:25 PM, May 16, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

Jadegold, the "U.S. govt source" you referred to is an anonymous leaker who, it turns out, can't even remember where he got the information, if he got it at all.

Not exactly true. From Newsweek:

"On Saturday, Isikoff spoke to his original source, the senior government official, who said that he clearly recalled reading investigative reports about mishandling the Qur'an, including a toilet incident. But the official, still speaking anonymously, could no longer be sure that these concerns had surfaced in the SouthCom report."

Clearly, this Govt. source stands behind the report of the incident but is unsure as to whic report it ended up (or didn't end up) in.


As for breaking laws or regulations, I doubt it. Remember the genesis of this reporting: alleged abuses being investigated by the US military at Gitmo.

4:13 PM, May 16, 2005  
Blogger Michael R. Churchill said...

There are definately some people that need to and should go down following 16 deaths, possibly even the editor brought up on a war crimes charge. Newsweek should change their name to New-sedition.

7:28 PM, May 16, 2005  
Anonymous AHS MilBlogger said...

Jadegold,

I am not sure what your point is. Are you trying to point out that Newsweek was not a catalyst for the recent riots in Afghanistan, by virtue of the fact that rumors of Koran desacration have been around since before the Newsweek story?

9:01 AM, May 17, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

JG:

"Gindy, let me ask you--what would you consider to be 'facts' that Korans were desecrated?"

In this case, indisputable evidence or public testimony from a credible source.

"If you follow the link (and associated links contained therein), you have a number of accounts of the Koran being desecrated--are all of them lying? Maybe."

Fair enough. But, I have to go with Tom on this one. The terrorists are taught to make certain claims of abuse up for the media. They are also taught to lie about such things. There was a hand book from one of the organizations (I can't remember which one) that said as much.

"But let's remember, the Newsweek story cited a US Govt. source. Should we not believe the US Govt?"

I also have to go with Tom's comment on this one as well.

2:37 PM, May 17, 2005  
Blogger carla said...

The outrage on this Newsweek thing is ridiculous.

A source backed off one particular part of the story. They didn't say the abuse of the Koran never happened. They said it didn't happen for THE ONE REPORT that was cited in Newsweek. Detainees have complained widely that there have been abuses of the Koran.

General Myers also confirmed that there had been some mishandling of the Koran either by placing it on a toilet seat or by attempting to flush it.

What's disconcerting here is the finger pointing at Newsweek, who took responsibility and is further investigating the story. Odd how Abu Ghraib is considered a minor incident by those on the right..yet 4 paragraphs in Newsweek are somehow responsible for the entire bad reputation of the United States around the world.

This righteous indignation at Newsweek is absolutely one of the most dishonest and intellectually flaccid things I've ever witnessed.

6:24 PM, May 17, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

I am not sure what your point is. Are you trying to point out that Newsweek was not a catalyst for the recent riots in Afghanistan, by virtue of the fact that rumors of Koran desacration have been around since before the Newsweek story?

Several points I hope to convey: first, the Koran desecration stories have been out there for as long as two years. It's highly doubtful those opposed to our misadventure in Iraq are going to ignore the half dozen instances of alleged desecration--only to get upset by the small Newsweek blurb.

Second, GEN Myers is already on record as saying the violence in Afghanistan was not tied to the article. The AP and several other news organizations had noted, before the Newsweek blurb, that violence in Afghanistan was on the upswing.

11:21 AM, May 18, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

The terrorists are taught to make certain claims of abuse up for the media. They are also taught to lie about such things.

Perhaps. But let's remember some of these accounts of desecration don't come from terrorists. They come from folks who were detained and released. One account also comes from a US translator.

11:24 AM, May 18, 2005  
Blogger Golf Grouch said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:43 AM, May 24, 2005  

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