OK. I'm sure you all know by now. Newsweek has screwed up big time. I really don't need to get into all the details again, but in case you didn't know, Newsweek ran a story proporting that Gitmo soldiers had flushed a Koran down the toilet, in order to goad detainees. The thing is, the story is bogus. Newsweek used a single anonymous source, and we find out later than the story is bogus. The bigger problem is that this story may have contributed to riots in Afghanistan and Pakistan that left 14 dead. Big, hefty, stinking faux pas.
Now, I'm pretty sure that these riots were caused by more than this Newsweek article, and that preexisting factors led to the violence. Gen Richard Myers essentiallybacked that up. However, it cannot be denied that at the very least, this article couldn't have helped matters much. The question I still cannot answr is why they felt they had to run this story right away, especially one so factually suspect? Was it for journalistic glory? To satisfy the fickle, sensationalist beast that controls a lot of media coverage today? Was it rank stupidity? The Bush crew have of course decided to blame the liberal, anti-Bush bias. I put no stock in the liberal media canard, but if Newsweek was trying to dispel that perception, then they really f'ed up.
Even if this story was true, I fail to see the journalistic importance. I don't think Newsweek maliciously put this out, but this is full-bore incompetence on their part. Eric Alterman points out that this is part of a pattern for one Mike Isikoff, who during the Clinton years was a well-known agent in making bogus stuff up during those Clinton "scandals," much to the delight of the anti-Clinton right. He admitted to being used by the likes of Linda Tripp and Lucy Goldberg.
So, this is yet another indictment of the fickle, non-fact-checking, short-sighted dark side of the media elite. Not liberal, but lazy. And loose. And you know.
Scott McClellan is in no moral position to lecture anyone on responsible reporting. Period.
George Galloway, while he may find some support from the naive, short sighted quarters, and the unreconstructed flank of the anti-war Left, if this guy really did buy oil from Saddam, then he deserves all he gets. The word on the street is that this guy is quite the pro-Saddam, neo-Stalinist lunatic.
If all those conservative myrmidons are really going to stand behind their Don, Tom DeLay, then they do so at their peril.
OK. I'm done.