Interesting. In a time period that’s seen losses – sometime huges losses – in subscriber bases for major newspapers, the Washington Times is reporting an increase. Funny how the Washington Post has seen a decrease of 2.7% in the same period that the Times saw an increase of nearly 3%. I’m sure there’s all kinds of marketing reasons being reported but I think more people are getting fed up with a newspaper who sees its job as constantly trying to paint the current Administration in as bad a light as possible. I want the news without the constant leftward bias and the Times give you that. I know liberals who dismiss the paper as a right-wing rag. I’ll counter than by saying it only looks right-wing when all you have to compare it with is left-wing rags. Looks like more of my fellow Washington-area residents agree.
Since Sunday I’ve written a few times about the Newsweek screw-up and I’ve generally meant every word of it. For those who haven’t picked up on it and also haven’t e-mailed me already, let me clarify that the “Newsweek lied and people died” commentary is satire. I have no more proof that Newsweek actually lied in telling their story than the Left has that President Bush lied in the lead up to the war in Iraq. That is, in fact, my point in making the comment so I don’t want people fixating on that part of my overall commentary on Newsweek.
I was re-reading some of my earlier posts in preparation for future ones and I realized that while I’ve explicitly taken Newsweek to task over its shoddy journalism, I haven’t been so up front about where the blame lies for the deaths caused in the riots sparked by Newsweek’s fairy tale. Remember, what makes this whole affair so damned serious is that real people really died in riots that wouldn’t have happened but for Newsweek’s blind rush to slander our military and the President. (Ed: Would they really not have happened at all? I wonder. More on that later.)
The blame for those deaths is squarely, completely, totally on the militant Islamics who are so desperately out of touch with reality that they think that the mere thought of someone theoretically dropping a Koran into a toilet is sufficient excuse to extinguish another person’s life. Should they have been angry, if such an event had actually occured? Maybe. I’d certainly given them the benefit of the doubt. However, when Palestinians took over the Church of the Nativity they used the Bible as toilet paper. They held priests hostage at gunpoint in one of the most holy places in Christendom and stole consecrated items from the Church. Condemnation there was, yes. Riots? No. No large groups of Christians formed angry mobs in Rome or Boston or Brazil and demanded that the Palestinians hand over those responsible in a few days or all Muslims would suffer. No one thousands of miles away was killed over it. And this was over an event that absolutely took place and which no one in the Muslim world denies the proof of.
Christians aren’t happy when non-believers damage their places of worship or show blatant disrespect – contempt, even – for those things and concepts we hold dear, religiously. But while a bible mass-produced by some printhouse somewhere contains the word of God, it’s not THE word of God. It’s a book. It shouldn’t be used for toilet paper, not unless the person doing so is trying to be an ass. But if they do anyway, it certainly not something I need to hurt anyone over, much less kill. The reactions the militant Muslims took were way, way out of line as a response to the incident described by Newsweek and even less justified now that it’s been shown to have been fiction to begin with. That doesn’t absolve Newsweek from their utter failure to comport themselves with care and professionalism at all. But the blame for the deaths themselves goes somewhere other than Newsweek’s editoral address.
Update: You should read the article at Winds of Change on Newsweek’s diastrous handling of this whole sorry event.
I’ve been taking special care to note the media’s reactions to the Newsweek bogus report and perfunctory “apology.” To say that the MSM is thrashing around looking for people to blame – and usually landing on the Administration and the military – is an understatement. Via Power Line, I found The New Criteron where Roger Kimball raises the obvious question: whose side is the media on?
|::::::::||But supposing there was a Private Lamebrain who did flush a Koran or two down the toilet. And suppose Newsweek got wind of it. Should they publish the story? Let me quote from Denis Praeger again:
“If an American interrogator of Japanese prisoners desecrated the most sacred Japanese symbols during World War II, it is inconceivable that any American media would have published this information. While American news media were just as interested in scoops in 1944 as they are now, they also had a belief that when America was at war, publishing information injurious to America and especially to its troops was unthinkable. ”
Unthinkable. Why? Because the press then was on our side. Whose side are they on now? I wonder.
Kimball gets to this point as a result of the press’s dismall performance at the White House Press conference yesterday where the “journalists” present sought to make a huge issue that the White House would like Newsweek to do what it can to repair the damage they caused with their rabid rush to get a story published that was critical of our government and military at the expense of the the truth. They kept trying to make a “Bush is trying to dictate to the media” point in hopes that they could all start screaming about that rather than on the incredible foul-up of one of their own.
|::::::::|| Q: With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it’s appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not telling them. I’m saying that we would encourage them to help —
Q: You’re pressuring them.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’m saying that we would encourage them —
Q: It’s not pressure?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. And Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting the story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report. And that’s all I’m saying. But, no, you’re absolutely right, it’s not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report.
Q: Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you’re saying here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Elisabeth, let me finish my sentence. Our military —
Q: You’ve already said what you’re — I know what — how it ends.
You see, the media already has the story in place. Mr. McClellan’s just not reading the lines they’ve written for his part. Personally, I’d have leveled a finger at this so-called journalist who can’t keep her mouth shut long enough to actually hear the events she’s alleging to report on and said, “Hell, yes, I want them to write a story.” I’d want them to write a story because that’s what Newsweek supposedly does for a living. I want them to write a story that was as prominient as the one they wrote spewing unsupported bullshit. I want them to get in there and get that flashlight-up-someone’s-arse approach to investigative reportings and figure out how this kind of thing happened in the first place. Oh, and I want them to write a story that says what we now know: that no such event as what they described happened.
I imagine that’s something Newsweek considers “not newsworthy.”