Newsweek’s Mea Culpa Is Too Little, Too Late

Newsweek said they were sorry yesterday for erroneous reporting concerning the Koran being dumped down the toilet at our Guantanamo Bay facility. This “error in reporting” stirred world-wide protests, cost at least 17 people their lives and injured more than 100. It also managed to flame the fires of anti-American sentiments and likely will lead to more recruitment by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeada. This, in turn, will put our military men and women abroad and, quite possible, our country itself in harms way. Yes, it was a big week for Newsweek! It’s not often a magazine can change the course of world events.

The MSM must deal with two problems: the desire to publish before total confirmation; and, their fervor to publish anything anti-Bush, anti-war. We, as subscribers and readers, must realize that we can no longer rely on the accuracy of news reporting in this country. Unfortunately, that fact will require us to think and reason — something to which we have become unaccustomed. If we could only explain this to the rest of the world, maybe they would ignore some of our “erroneous” reporting.

Would you like to know what actually scares me more than this “error?” What scares me more is the way much of the MSM is diminishing the situation:

Newsweek apologized yesterday for printing a small item on May 9 about reported desecration of the Koran by American guards at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an item linked to riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan that led to the deaths of at least 17 people. But the magazine, while acknowledging possible errors in the article, stopped short of retracting it.

The report that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet set off the most virulent, widespread anti-American protests in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government more than three years ago. — by Katharine Q. Seelye, NY Times

The above shows the two lead paragraphs in the New York Times (NYT) article concerning Newsweek’s snafu. Look at the wording: “small item,” “acknowledging possible errors” and “linked to riots.” With such soft wording, it seems the NYT is giving Newsweek a pass on this error that, in their own words, “set off the most virulent” protest against the US in years. The repercussions of which will reverberate for years to come. I don’t think the Islamic fundamentalist care about or believe Newsweek’s mea culpa.

“We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst,” Mark Whitaker, Newsweek’s editor, wrote in a separate note in the issue. — by Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times via the San Francisco Chronicle

Well, those are certainly nice sentiments, Mr. Whitaker. Maybe you can do your job a tad bit better next time so that no one has to die over an inaccurate article in your magazine. What ever happened to the “two source” rule of journalism — requiring two sources to confirm anything incendiary? (Newsweek claims their source regarding the Koran debacle backed out on them.) Failure to follow this rule burned CBS last year. So, you would think other MSM outlets would have taken note.

In my opinion, the deaths will not stop at 17. We may never be able to link any future American deaths directly to Newsweek’s rush to publish. We may never prove that an increase in the terrorists’ ranks is due to the Koran piece. Be assured, though, both of these have a high probability of becoming a reality. Newsweek just placed every American at greater risk for a terrorist attack and our troops at a higher level of danger. Yes, it was a very good week for Osama bin Laden . . . and, he didn’t even have to lift a finger.

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