Newsweek comes up woefully short with its "apology." Their "apology" is more the equivalent of inadequate excuse making.
First, they knew that any story about US troops defiling the Koran would spark outrage in the Islamic world. This is unforgivable on two fronts.
One, given the seemingly uncontrollable explosive reaction among violent Islamacists to this kind of news, Newsweek had a reasonable expectation the this inflammatory article, would, not could, spark this kind of reaction, which ultimately led to at least a dozen deaths. Apology doesn't cut it. Selling magazines is not worth one life, particularly a magazine whose popularity is clearly on the wane.
Two, Newsweek knew that this story would result in anti-American activities across the globe, particularly in those countries where troops are currently deployed...putting our troops in additional jeopardy. When are we going to start holding journalists accountable for their treasonous acts? Again, an apology doesn't cut it when lives are on the line, and it falls much further short when those lives are the troops who are protecting their right to lie in print. One American soldier death attributed to this article, and Newsweek should shut down! Newsweek ran this article specifically to undermine the work we have done in Iraq and Afghanistan. They printed this as part of their anti-Bush agenda. Period.
Secondly, this is again, a complete journalistic failure. Does any of this sound familiar?...unidentified source, who later won't back up the story? Asking for confirmation from two sources...one declines, the other is tepid, and again this makes it through their rigorous editorial process? Hello!?!, there is no editorial process at these biased institutions. Why is your readership declining? Maybe because your journalism STINKS!!! You are falling victim to your own mediocrity.
Third, the "well, they didn't deny it" defense. Unbelievable! This is pitiful on two levels.
One, the Pentagon does not have time to answer every half-baked, under-researched story. They would spend all of their time fending off lousy stories of conspiracies, dreamt up by the "next Bob Woodward." I think this particular story is evidence enough, but there is little doubt, if the Pentagon went down this road, managing reporters' confirmation requests would be an endless task. Heaven forbid the Pentagon failed to confirm a suspicion...the conspiracy nuts would come out of the closet in their black helicopters.
Two, it is the journalist's responsibility to put together the story. Conjecture, supposition, and weak facts must be bolstered by the reporter's actions...that is journalism. The absence of denial is not proof. An unbelievable shift of responsibility, and not remotely defensible.
Lastly, some of the responsibility here lies with Islam. I wonder how many bibles are burned, flushed, and torn up in Islamic countries? Somehow that activity doesn't compell a like response from Christians. Islamics need to get a grip on the modern world...nobody is insulated from insults. Technology has connected the people of the world beyond the imagination of our religious founders...now is the time to integrate into the modern age...you cannot be singulary insulated from the rest of what goes on in the rest of the world...regardless of your wishes.
Monday, May 16, 2005