Newsweek lied, people died.
Well, the MSM protestations of the blogosphere's lack of standards have once again blown up in their faces. What happened to those vaunted “checks and balances” and “levels” of editing? I think we know what happened: every one of the editors said “Wow! What a great U.S. military-bashing story! Fits our agenda perfectly! Fact-checking? Who cares! Get that story printed!” This is what happens when 80% of journalists and 90% of editors have the same point of view: the alarm bells of caution are drowned out by the memes bouncing around the echo chamber. Why do we need to check whether American soldiers are really desecrating the Koran when we all know it must be true? Only now, after 30 people (and counting) have been killed, does it occur to them maybe they should have gotten some actual evidence before publishing an inflammatory rumor. It’s not that they didn’t learn from Rathergate (Why do we need to check whether Bush really received special treatment in the National Guard when we all know it must be true?), it’s just that the MSM’s perception of reality hasn’t changed enough to prevent the same kind of mistake from happening again, and probably it never will.
There’s also a less-explored side of this controversy. We have a crucifix – to Christians, the embodiment of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for humanity and the most holy symbol of Christianity – being put in a jar of urine and pictures of Mary – Mother of God to billions of Christians – smeared with feces, and instead of being reviled as “desecrations” these displays are celebrated in museums as “controversial” forms of “art” – with public funding, no less. Think you could get an NEA grant to put the Koran in a toilet or a Buddha statue in a jar of urine? Apparently what’s “controversial” and what’s “desecration” depends on whose God you’re mocking.
UPDATE: Apparently Newsweek decided to go with the story after "implicit confirmation" from a senior military official, "implicit confirmation" in this case meaning "he didn't say it wasn't true." Cute. Brings to mind other phrases like "plausible deniability" or "collateral damage," as in "This implicit confirmation dodge will provide us plausible deniability regarding the collateral damage caused by our shoddy biased reporting."
PREDICTION: Released detainees current and future will falsely claim the Koran-flushing happened, just as their Al Qaeda training manuals instruct them to do. Liberals in and out of the media will cite the detainees and claim vindication, while remaining utterly oblivious to why some people always complain they're working with the enemy.
IF AN INDICTMENT IS ISSUED AND THE TRIAL, BEGINS, THE BROTHER HAS TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:
1. At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.
2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.
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