Newsweek’s Shame

It is clear that Newsweek‘s zeal to run with an anti-American story has cost at least 15 lives and severely harmed US relations with the Muslim world. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of crap – Newsweek deliberately ran with a story with highly dubious sourcing because it was salacious, without ever considering what the ramification of their story would be.

Newsweek‘s irresponsible behavior should not go unpunished – Newsweek reporters should be banned from all government press events. They violated the most basic principles of journalism and their zeal to embarrass the US has already cost lives. Actions like that are totally unacceptable, and Newsweek‘s lame apologies are entirely insufficient.

Powerline has more on the shoddy journalism behind this story. As is typical, the zeal to run with a salacious story that would reflect badly on our troops and their Commander in Chief overwhelmed any common sense or decency. The Blame America First culture exhibited by Newsweek is endemic across the media.

Roger Kimball states it well:

Here’s a question: Why is it that all the stories you read in Time-Newsweek-The New York Times-The Washington Post-Etc. or see on CNN-The BBC-CBS-NBC-Etc., why is it that all their stories about Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, etc., why is it that the presumption, the prejudice, the predisposition never goes the other way? Why is it that their reporters always assume the worst: that we’re doing dirty at Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., and are primed to pick up and believe any rumor damaging to the United States? Shakespeare knew that rumor was a “pipe/blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,” not to be trusted. So why do these journalists, trained to sift evidence, to probe sources, to listen beyond the static of rumor: why do they only do so in one direction, so to speak? Yes, I know that’s a self-answering question, at least in part, but it is worth pondering nonetheless.

Austin Bay is calling this the press’ Abu Ghraib. That comparison is apt, although one can be sure that this story will disappear while the press hyped Abu Ghraib for months.

It’s become clear — the press is perfectly willing to lie in order to smear this country. From CBS’s forged Air National Guard documents to Newsweek‘s unconfirmable Koran-desecration story, the media doesn’t give a damn about truth anymore. It’s all about politics. It’s all about a culture that no longer seeks to reveal the truth, but smear good men and women for political gain and better ratings. It’s about a culture which is steeped in anti-Americanism that leeches off the freedom of the press and ignores the obligation to tell the truth.

I used to think that Ann Coulter was engaging in demagoguery when she accused people on the left of being traitors. I used to think such language was needlessly inflammatory and far too brazen.

As anti-American riots caused by a false story by an American newsmagazine that should have damn well known better continue to take lives, now I’m not so sure. What can be said of a media that instinctively blames America first time and time again? What can be said of a media that ignores the killing fields of Iraq and instead flogs Abu Ghraib over and over again? What can be said of a media who makes a big stink about missing explosives at al-Qaaqaa in the week before the election, and then never mentions the story again once it can no longer help John Kerry? Newsweek‘s actions were criminal, and they shouldn’t be able to hide behind freedom of the press to provide them with a way of excaping their crime. The government should ensure that Newsweek pays the price for their shoddy journalism. The Fourth Estate has become a fifth column, and if we can’t trust reporters to check their facts and tell the truth, then they’re not living up to the responsibilities inherent to a free press in a free society. All rights come with responsibilities attached, and Newsweek‘s deadly libel should not go unpunished.

Newsweek lied and people died.

2 thoughts on “Newsweek’s Shame

  1. Jay,

    Last week Christopher Hitchens on Slate wrote an admirable column on the real Abu Graib under Saddam.

    The media has never given the public an accurate picture of the horros of Abu Graib under Saddam, instead they shed crocodile tears over the humiliation of detainees for which our soldiers are being punished.

    Hitchens says it best:

    “But I am not an apologist if I point out that there are no more hangings, random or systematic. The outrages committed by Pvt. England and her delightful boyfriend were first uncovered by their superiors. And seven of Saddam’s amputees—those whose mutilations were filmed and distributed as a warning—have been flown to Houston, Texas—Texas, capital of redneck barbarism!—to be fitted with new prosthetic hands. A film about this latter episode, titled A Show of Hands, has been made by Don North and was, I believe, shown on the Al Hurra network. But I don’t think that 1-in-100,000,000 people has seen it; certainly nobody in comparison with the universal dissemination of photographs of recreational sadism. “

  2. As shoddy and irresponsible as Newsweek appears to have been, it should be noted that a report of a Koran being flushed down a toilet should not lead to mass deaths. One hundred Bibles or Toras being flushed wouldn’t result in rioting and murder, nor should this report have. There’s more to this story than just Newsweek’s behavior, but the media will want no part in mentioning it.

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