Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek Backpedals

Buy now many of you have heard the story. Newsweek ran an article claiming that interrogators flushed a copy of the Qur'an down a toilet to intimidate Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay. It turns out that their sources were pretty bad. Something like, "The Pentagon didn't confirm it, but they didn't specifically deny it either, so it must be true."

Isn't this the kind of shoddy reporting that got Dan Rather in trouble? The difference here is that Dan may have ended his career, but Newsweek caused a riot and got 17 people killed.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think Newsweek should be held directly responsible. They didn't pull the triggers and kill a bunch of people, nor ask anyone to do it for them.

But they may as well have. What did they think was going to happen? Did they think an immature nation, populated with a culture having a violence seeking past, weren't going to over react? Most Muslims are nice people, and would never think of committing murder. But guess what? Newsflash, people! There is a small segment of that society that are ready to kill people in the name of Allah, whether Allah wants them to or not! Telling someone that is willing to kill for their religion that someone else, whom they already consider to be the devil (the U.S.), desecrated a copy of their holy writings is going to piss them off! For some of the people in the Middle East, there is no such thing as peaceful demonstrations. They just aren't used to the idea of having an alternative way of voicing their opinions. Instead, they pull out their guns and start shooting!

No, instead if good reporting, Newsweek saw an opportunity to sell more magazines by creating fear, doubt and controversy. They decided to light a powder keg instead of checking their sources beforehand. That's what a publishing company is about, after. Making more money for a few stockholders, not good reporting.

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