Monday, May 16, 2005
On this day:

The Incompetence of Newsweek: Media Bias Will Get You Killed

UPDATE: Pentagon calls Newsweek 'irresponsible' over Koran abuse report Reuters: Newsweek says may have erred in Koran report
Newsweek magazine on Sunday said it may have erred in a May 9 report that said U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to victims of deadly violence sparked by the article. The weekly news magazine said in its May 23 edition that the original source of the allegation was not sure where he saw the assertion that at least one copy of the Koran was flushed down a toilet in an attempt to get detainees to talk. "We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday. The report has sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza. On Sunday, Afghan Muslim clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States in three days unless it handed over the interrogators in question. The May 9 report quoted unnamed sources as saying that military investigators probing abuse at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, found that interrogators had placed copies of the Koran on toilets and "in at least one case, flushed a holy book down the toilet."
*** Lest you think Whitaker is a really sincere, humble guy, the New York Times quotes Mr. Whitaker an interview : "We're not retracting anything. We don't know what the ultimate facts are." No, Newsweek did not know what the facts were, but it had no hesitation in REPORTING those facts knowing how sensitive the situation is. UPDATE: Whitaker IS retracting. Newsweek Retracts Story on Quran Abuse By DINO HAZELL "Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay," Whitaker said. *** E-Mail Mark Whitaker at mark.whitaker@Newsweek.com The text of my note to Whitaker is below:
Mr. Whitaker: Your recent apology regarding the Koran and subsequent violence rings very hollow. Even if the story about desecration of Korans was completely true, only an amatuer journalist would not be able to predict what Muslim extremists would do upon hearing the story. They certainly would not take pains to verify its veracity. Ironically, Newsweek did not either. You, Mr. Whitaker, Newsweek, and the liberal media, have the blood of 16 people and 100 injured on your hands. In a constant quest to make American soldiers look like monsters, you and your news organization have behaved like starving vultures causing the deaths of innocent people. Shame on all of you.
*** Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit writes:
If [Newsweek] had wrongly reported the race of a criminal and produced a lynching, they'd feel much worse--which is why they generally don't report such things, a degree of sensitivity they don't extend to reporting on, you know, minor topics like wars. . . . People died, and U.S. military and diplomatic efforts were damaged, because--let's be clear here--Newsweek was too anxious to get out a story that would make the Bush Administration and the military look bad.
*** Side note: If some conservative/Republican journalist released this information, the mainstream media would most definitely make it front page news, interview all the relatives of the deceased, the injured, government officials, and kids on the street. In contrast, the incompetent moron at Newsweek will likely (1) get a promotion, (2) a book deal and 7 figure advance, (3) interviews with Oprah, Katie Couric and Barbara Walters. Thanks to Annika's Journal.