Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Beat The Press

The speed with which the Newsweek debacle has gained steam is, to say the least, jarring if not terribly surprising. After all, what better way to deflect growing attention to the Downing Street memo, which will now die a quiet death in the growing pile of lies and elisions this administration has willfully and knowingly distributed about a variety of subjects, some of which have cost a great many innocent lives.

But it's all Newsweek's fault that the US' reputation has been damaged yet again. Uh, okay. Might as well blame them for Abu Ghraib while we're at it. Yes, we sodomized them with glow-sticks and chained them to tables till they shit themselves, and we've even beaten a few dozen of them to death in custody -- but they really hate us because you might have lied about us flushing the Quran. Yeah, that makes sense.

To their detriment, Newsweek has already fallen all over itself retracting and apologizing and genuflecting. Would that this much energy and effort got expended in, say, investigating and vetting one's sources.

Two weeks ago, in our issue dated May 9, Michael Isikoff and John Barry reported in a brief item in our Periscope section that U.S. military investigators had found evidence that American guards at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had committed infractions in trying to get terror suspects to talk, including in one case flushing a Qur'an down a toilet. Their information came from a knowledgeable U.S. government source, and before deciding whether to publish it we approached two separate Defense Department officials for comment. One declined to give us a response; the other challenged another aspect of the story but did not dispute the Qur'an charge.

Although other major news organizations had aired charges of Qur'an desecration based only on the testimony of detainees, we believed our story was newsworthy because a U.S. official said government investigators turned up this evidence. So we published the item.


Last Friday, a top Pentagon spokesman told us that a review of the probe cited in our story showed that it was never meant to look into charges of Qur'an desecration. The spokesman also said the Pentagon had investigated other desecration charges by detainees and found them "not credible." Our original source later said he couldn't be certain about reading of the alleged Qur'an incident in the report we cited, and said it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts. Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we. But 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.

So, despite the comedically inspired "Newsweek Lied, People Died" riffs from the usual 'tarderati, this is simply not the case. Newsweek certainly deserves a swift kick in the ass for reporting something as confirmed when it was not, but that's about it. They jumped the gun. For the current gang of fools running the show, jumping the gun might as well be an official Olympic event.

Let's break this down: either the "knowledgeable source" was telling the truth, or he was lying. This is a factual matter that a government official is not going to be totally "mistaken" about, unless he's just utterly incompetent; either there is credence to some of the allegations, or there isn't. The source wouldn't have stepped forward if he didn't know one way or the other.

So if he was lying, then one assumes he was trying to sandbag some media assholes. On whose behalf would this be done? If the source was telling the truth, then he is now retracting because his superiors found out he talked, and his ass is on the line. Why else does an anonymous source worry about retraction anyway?

Take your pick. Either scenario has Turd Blossom's fingerprints all over it. Hell, it worked on Dan Rather, why not give it another go-round? This is Memogate all over again, a piece which is most likely accurate in substance, savaged for discrepancies in presentation, to the point that the issue itself just gets dropped, and never followed up for veracity or a proper debunking. The hysterical squawking becomes the story.

Finally, even if this turns out to just be a hi-larious series of honest mistakes and blunders by a well-meaning but darned misinformed government tool, where does this administration and its pajamahadeen bobbleheads get the fucking nerve to point the finger? If this is not a case of the proverbial pot making pronouncements about the pigmentation of his kettle counterpart, I don't know what would be.

No, this is just another obvious, lame attempt to kick an already prostrate and co-opted mainstream media into getting with the program. The conservatards are right about one thing -- this episode could be a death knell for the MSM as we know it, but not because of their dishonesty so much as their sheer gutlessness. Why the hell should we stick up for them if they won't even stick up for themselves?

Remember, the Quran story is still being investigated, and as Newsweek reported, no one wanted to go on record confirming or denying. Pretty circumspect behavior over such a supposedly blatant lie.

How much you wanna bet that, if this turns out to be incontrovertibly true after all, every single one of these sanctimonious douchebags will just brush it right under the rug?


Anonymous said...

Deny, deny, deny. Scream, windmill arms, point at horizon and blather. Wait for subject to change. Rinse. Repeat.

"The dog threw the Koran in the toilet."

There is no longer any point in debating such foolishness with such fools.

I'm at a loss. Reason and logic have left the party for a well-needed nap.

Craig Heath said...


How much you wanna bet that, if this turns out to be incontrovertibly true after all, every single one of these sanctimonious douchebags will just brush it right under the rug?

I won't take that bet. My father said to me, "One day my son, a man will produce a deck of cards on which the seal has not yet been broken, and will offer to bet you that he can make the Jack of Hearts jump out and squirt cider in your ear. But you will not take this bet, my son. For as sure as I am standing here now you will end up with an ear full of cider."

Or something like that.

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