Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Qurans and Commodes

We've had a couple of days to listen to the reactions to the Newsweek story, and it has been very amusing. Most of the American Left has come out in defense of Newsweek which is as expected, but the various defenses they put up are pretty funny. So far, in no particular order I've heard it's no big deal because:
  1. It wasn't Newsweek's fault because
    • The source recanted
    • The DOD didn't deny the story
    • There have been rumors about things like this for ages
    • After Abu Ghraib, there's nothing the military won't do.

    These excuses are all garbage. As far as I know, when you go with an anonymous source, as a good journalist, you're supposed to get a corroborating source. Newsweek didn't. Bias or incompetence, you be the judge. As soon as the story broke, the DOD did deny it, and has denied the allegations in the past. The rumors spring from a few sources, mostly released detainess, who cannot by any standard be called impartial. In fact, the Newsweek report was such a bombshell because it claimed that for the first time, the US government was admitting that this occurred, a fact we'll return to in a moment. Finally, it appears that those who advance the Abu Ghraib justification conveniently forget that those responsible for the abuse that took place are being punished for it. What they did was wrong, and they are paying the price. This is not an indication that outrageous acts are tolerated in the military; quite the opposite, in fact.

    What's funny is that all of these defenses boil down to "It wasn't Newsweek's fault; they're not mean, just incompetent." The differences between the tabloids and the "real" press are vanishing rapidly. Anytime your main line of defense is "We're not saying it's true, but it might be" you've leveled the playing field betweem MSM and the tabloids.

    Probably not your best line of defense.
  2. It was Muslims who rioted, not Newsweek

    According to some folks, Newsweek shouldn't be held accountable for the actions of some irrational Muslim extremists. While it is nice to hear the MSM admit that Islamic extremists are religious fanatics and can't be expected to act rationally, it certainly has been a long time in coming, and seems a bit self serving to suddenly realize it now.
  3. Rumors of desecration of the Quran were already on the streets, therefore the rioting cannot be blamed on the Newsweek story.

    In order to accept this, you have to assume that the riots occurred spontaneously and independently of the Newsweek story, and that the timing was a coincidence.
    Leaving that aside for the moment, there's a key distinction that these folks elide when making this argument; an unconfirmed rumor is one thing, an announcement in the US mainstream press, attributed to a US government official, claiming to be from an official report, admitting that the rumors are true is another thing all together. Newsweek's Periscope piece was not just repeating the rumors, it said that the US government, in an offical document, was admitting that these acts took place.

    The difference is key. The Muslim extremists erupted not because there was another rumor, but because Newsweek was reporting that the rumors were confirmed. Oddly, everyone other then Newsweek and there as yet unnamed source have been able to find no corroboration of US forces desecrating the Quran, although they have documented desecration of the Quran by Gitmo detainees themselves, who have flushed pages as a protest.
    Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that military investigators had reviewed 25,000 pages of documents and found that more than one detainee stopped up a toilet with pages from the Quran as a protest but discovered no evidence that U.S. interrogators had done such a thing.

    Now, if you squint really hard, you can pass off the timing as a coincidence, but you would have to pluck your eyes out entirely to ignore the timing, dismiss the nature of the story, and ignore statements like:
    It is not the anti-American sentiment, it is a protest over news of the desecration of the holy Quran.
    Afghanistan President Hamid Kharzai explaining the riots that killed 16 people

    Whenever your pet theory involves the deliberate exclusion of salient facts, you're certain to be wrong.
  4. It was all a plot by Karl Rove to discredit all media (one of my personal favorites, by the way.)
    There's nothing like a good conspiracy to really warm the liberal American heart. That damn Machiavellian Karl Rove must be an absolute genius! Like Lucy Van Pelt, he keeps teeing up the football, and like Charlie Brown, the MSM along with the rest of the American Left keeps falling flat on their collective rear ends.

    And this is their best defense? "We got outsmarted by Karl Rove. Again!"

    I don't know about you, but I'd be embarrassed to admit to being that stupid.

So there you have it. Wouldn't it make more sense for the left to do exactly what Newsweek is doing? They made a mistake; they've admitted it, albeit grudgingly, and now they're trying to move on.

What a concept, eh?
Posted by Rich
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