Monday, May 16, 2005

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.

(h/t LGF)

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Thanks for stopping by.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Blake Anderson said...

ONce again the MSM purports to be acting with great ethics and accountablity and, as it turns out, they are anything but. The bias is built in so heavily they cannot begin to conceive how this misleads them into much more than grievous errors--it leads, literally, to fatal errors--17 dead because Newsweek lied without even a pretence of fact checking. When will they overcome the blindness that accompanies the wish for something to be true when the facts do not support it. They are more than despicable--they are traitors to themselves as well as the troops who serve in harms way and the innocent Muslims who get caught up in the fury their uninvestigated facts produce. For shame.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about lying, TallDave. There seems to be evidence that it actually happened.

But it is not true that journalists have the absolutely unfettered right to publish what they find out. What if someone had joined the dots on D-Day, for instance? This is why we accept some degree of military censorship.

If I had been the Newsweek editor, I know for sure I would have thought that this particular piece of colourful information is not essential to painting a general picture of what is going on. And it is guaranteed to enrage Muslim fundies. So I wouldn't have published it.

Perhaps they should put up photos of the people who got killed as a result. After all, they are big on moral responsibility - as they should be.

- david tiley

6:06 AM  
Blogger TallDave said...

Tiley,

Ummmmm... what evidence would that be?

This isn't a censorship issue, it's a journalistic responsibility issue. It's the equivalent of yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre, and it had the equivalent effect.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any evidence that the detainees making the allegation are connected to Al Quaeda?

Richard Myers and Dirita suggested that the story was not really responsible for the riots, but keyboard warriors must know better.

Anyone with half a brain still trusts Newsweek a lot more than the website of a half-wit.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cushla machree!
People are _still_ dragging up
Andres Serrano's 1989 (1989!)
work - which, if you've ever seen an image of it, is actually quite beautiful - and Chris Ofili's 1999 painting (which is not 'smeared with feces', regardless of what you've absorbed osmotically from various sources) as examples of how anti-Christian the modern, urban, secular West has become.

Ofili was an altar boy, for pity's sake.

Also, what IMHO would have been a better point (if you were interested in making it) would be to contrast the 'furor' over the aforementioned artworks - alleged to be indicative of Christian intolerance - with the bloodletting allegedly inspired by the cruel and unusual treatment of 'enemy combatants'.

Robert Walker-Smith
RWlkrSmith@aol.com

1:14 PM  

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