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Newsweek Shows Us Why Media Trust is Plummeting (Updated!)

| 81 Comments | 11 TrackBacks

[Robin Burk's assistance and additions to this article are appreciated]

Reader SAO writes in to ask why we aren't covering the Newsweek story, which incited the deaths of at least 15 people over a poorly-checked, irresponsible report that the magazine itself now admits is probably false. Me, I'm wondering why no-one on Newsweek's staff saw the potential problems with this report at the time, as Glenn Reynolds and others did. Immediately:

"The press is exquisitely sensitive to the risks posed by, say, racial insensitivity in reporting. It's too bad they're not so careful with regard to things that might get American troops killed."

If they did see the problems, why didn't that stop the story, an act that would have carried zero consequences? And if they didn't see those obvious problems, we've got to ask - why not?

Veteran journalist Joe Gandelman has a roundup of reactions left and right, and specifically notes that making these kinds of allegations is part of the al-Qaeda training manual; this makes apologists' references to "similar allegations from other prisoners" rather rich, IMO. Greyhawk adds an excellent post on similar but debunked allegations in the past and the possible origins of Newsweek's story. In the aftermath, Jeff Jarvis has a fine point to make about Newsweek's mischievous CBS-style non-retraction - which is likely to get even more people killed. Satirist Scott "Scrappleface" Ott is funny as always, and Glenn's post-"retraction" roundup offers a fine back and forth getting at the issues and responsibility. Responsibility that includes religious sects who see incitement to violence and murder as an acceptable response in such situations (but not in Iraq, says Omar).

Media double standards and malfeasance? Ya think? But those double-standards matter. They go to the heart of the reason why nobody said 'wait a minute' at Newsweek, why the subsequent insincere "apology" bordered on malice - and why that liberal media continues to be surprised at surveys like this one from UConn:

"While 72 percent of the journalists said their profession did a good or excellent job of reporting information accurately, only 39 percent of the public felt the same way. At the same time, 61 percent of the citizen respondents said they disagreed with the statement that "the news media tries to report the news without bias."

Add another survey to the pile. Unsurprisingly:

"Some survey findings may provide fodder for conservatives who complain about liberal tilt in the press.... The divergence came when 32 percent of the public identified themselves as Republicans, compared with only 10 percent of the newsroom employees. Among journalists who said they voted in the 2004 election, 68 percent reported favoring John Kerry and 25 percent chose George Bush. Yet among the public respondents who said they voted, Bush beat Kerry 54 percent to 44 percent.

Those figures are actually a bit higher than I'm used to seeing for the Republican side, in comparison to other surveys we've covered. Does the word "diversity" ring a bell with anyone?

As Tim Porter notes, recent surveys weren't kind to Newsweek, either:

"A Pew Research Center study (PDF) released in April found that 45 percent of Americans believe little or nothing printed in newspapers. Newsweek fared almost as badly. Nearly 40 percent don't believe what they read in the magazine and in a section of the report devoted to political news, only 10 percent said they learned about politics from Newsweek, a 50 percent drop from year earlier."

No wonder. As Paul Marshal notes:

"Equally disturbing is the fact that Newsweek reporters seemed to have little idea how explosive such a story would be. While noting that, to Muslims, desecrating the Koran "is especially heinous," Thomas looks for explanations, including "extremist agitators," of why protest and rioting spread throughout the world, and maintains that it was at Imram Khan’s press conference that "the spark was apparently lit." He confesses that after "so many gruesome reports of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, the vehemence of feeling around this case came as something of a surprise."

What planet do these people live on that they are surprised by something so entirely predictable? Anybody with a little knowledge could have told them it was likely that people would die as a result of the article. Remember Salman Rushdie?

The spark was lit not by Imram Khan but by Newsweek itself on May 9 when apparently none of its reporters or editors was aware of the effect such a story would have. There seems to have been nobody there that knew that death is the penalty for desecrating a Koran in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere."

Gee, I just can't understand why people might be reluctant to trust them for news.

Veteran journalist Mark Tapscott notes that not only did Newsweek demonstrate complete ignorance, not only did it fail to meet the classic "sensitivity" standards so rampant nowadays - it violated basic professional standards for stories like this one:

"For whatever reason, it appears Newsweek's reporters and editors forgot Journalism 101's First Rule: If you don't have two independently verifiable sources for a serious allegation the publication of which could seriously damage or destroy an individual's reputation, put somebody in of physical danger or place public safety at risk, don't publish it.

They also appear to have forgotten Rule Two: Anonymous sources in government always have agendas, typically self-serving agendas. That means journalists should never rely upon lone anonymous government sources unless they are quoting a document or person they routinely see and can provide additional details, the verification of which would not jeopardize identity."

Again we ask, why? I don't think Evan Thomas is a liar with an agenda; to the contrary, he has been candid about press bias in the past. No, I think it's deeper than that.

One of award-winning journalist Bernie Goldberg's key points in his 2001 book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News is that the monoculture of social backgrounds and political beliefs in many newsrooms impairs the media's ability to have the kinds of second thoughts that may have helped Newsweek. Because they rarely bump into colleagues who might question their views, it never even occurs to them to ask certain questions, at least in a serious way. This also hurts their coverage of issues like religion and the military, where they have little representation or background and so misreport the issues - or fail to ask the right questions that would lead to good investigative journalism.

As Chris Bray noted in Military Blindness in the Media - and Beyond:

"Reporters who cover the military without understanding it don’t just muff a few basic facts about what kind of soldier carries what kind of gun, or which service does what. They also fail to apply the right skepticism in the right places, or even the right credulity in the right places, and so end up swinging in a wild arc between breathless adulation and naive condemnation. They surrender many of the necessary tools for questioning the authority of the armed forces, and render nearly useless the check and the balance of the Fourth Estate on a major power of government. They create confidence where there should be wariness, and fear where there should be strength.

They get it wrong, and it counts."

It does. It just did. And it has also highlighted the chasm of values between the journalist class and the general public it purports to serve. One doesn't need surveys to see the double-standards at work:

  • If belief-sets that see violence as an acceptable response are the real fault, as a number of liberal bloggers have suddenly realized, one wonders why the MSM (mainstream media) seems unable to apply that logic to, say, its coverage of Al Sharpton.
  • Their "discretion" is so great that many media outlets refuse to call blatant car bombings of civilians terrorism, or call their perpetrators terrorists. We've heard the familiar, slimy evasions: "militant" (oh, you mean they're like N.O.W?), "gunman" (you mean, like the guy who robs a bank?), "resistance" (resisting what - their humanity?). It so bad there's even a blog plug-in to fix it. And we musn't show graphic footage from 9/11. It might incite. It might offend.
  • LaShawn Barber offers an aside in her own post, noting: "When was the last time you heard the words 'Bible' and 'desecrated' in the same sentence? I digress."

No, she doesn't. It's the point here.

The media has proven they can show the kind of responsibility this story demanded. They'll even go further, and muzzle themselves in ways that impair their ability to report legitimate news - as long as any cause or issue related to the liberal point of view is involved.

The surveys noted above, matter. Lack of political diversity within the media is preventing it from questioning the wisdom of stories like the one Newsweek ran, a simple act that would have forestalled many deaths. Having that kind of intellectual diversity on hand might have given Newsweek some people in the newsroom who would familiarize themselves with stuff like al-Qaeda's manual (we have them here, on a far lower budget), or have good enough relations with military and intel sources to elicit that kind of information. People who would treat extreme claims from captured terrorists with more skepticism - which, as Greyhawk notes above, is utterly warranted. People who might have insisted on following the rules Tapscott cites above.

It might have meant that the same benefit of the doubt so often extended to the Saddam Husseins and terrorist fanatics of the world (who mustn't be called "terrorists", remember, lest it inflame), might have been extended to the American military as well. I know, I know, a ridiculous fantasy... still, a guy can dream.

We might have even seen a full and unconditional apology and retraction that would have done more to put a brake on future violence, without removing Newsweek's ability to continue investigating if it wished. That was certainly the sensible thing to do. Was it done? No.

At each and every link in that chain, Newsweek failed. As so many of its partners in the "mainstream media" fail. Repeatedly. Consistently. On key subjects that matter. This time, people died.

More deaths will follow, because actions have consequences. More liberal media erosion will also follow, for the same reason.

Brian C. Anderson's "South Park Conservatives" chronicles the rise of alternatives to media institutions that are no longer seen as sharing key values with large swathes of their audience, or serving the public well.

I'll have more to say about his book in the coming days, but its key point is simple: over time, imbalances like the ones noted above will be addressed in a market economy. Viewers and readers who do not share the liberal mindset are getting more and more fed up - and they now have both venues to express that, and alternatives to turn to.

As Anderson writes:

"Over time, a greater number of right-of-center voices will find audiences..... The Left will have to re-examine, argue, and refine its positions, so many of which have proved disastrously wrong, and stop living off the past. It's hard to imagine that this development won't result in a broader, richer, deeper national debate - something liberals of an older, John Stuart Mill-stripe would have welcomed."

It's also hard to imagine that this development won't result in "sensitivity" that extends beyond lib-left partisan bounds. Maybe even one that thinks the lives of people like Robin's cadets who put it all on the line for America deserves the same consideration our media currently gives to the sensitivities of a self-seeking liar and demagogue like Al Sharpton.

May it come to pass, speedily, in our days.

But that's cold comfort to the people who have died and will die - all because of the recklessness of a politicized media and the hateful violence at the heart of our Islamofascist enemies and their belief system.


  • Donald Sensing says the Dept. of Derfesnse dropped the ball, too. This does make it more understandable that Newsweek would believe there could be something to their story... but it isn't enough to justify the decision to publish or their conduct since. Summary: The Islamists are still culpable. Newsweek is still culpable. The DoD is now partly culpable as well. See this comment for more.
  • Irshad Manji talks about the riots in Jalalabad, the Quran's status as the literal world of God, and Muslim traditions that show human editing. (Hat Tip: Instapundit)
  • Acidman attended Jounralism school... and let's just say, he wasn't impressed. He writes: "I see a big change happening in journalism today. The pendulum swings slowly, but I see it moving in the opposite direction now, after it's been heading left for three decades. When "GOTCHA" journalism turns around and GETS YOU, I see good things happening." That may be what it takes to make the media do the right thing.
  • Back in 2003, Winds blogchild (and former journalist) LaughingWolf ran a series valled "Saving Pvt. Journalism." Thought it was worth reminding folks.

11 TrackBacks

Tracked: May 17, 2005 3:00 AM
Excerpt: Newsweek has now basically said "Never mind!" in what is essentially a retraction of a report claiming that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the holy Koran — a ...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 3:49 AM
Excerpt: Newsweek is losing Boston's WRKO-AM, in part, because of the flap over the Koran. (It should be noted that the station was already planni...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 5:19 AM
Newsweek Aftermath from Dadmanly
Excerpt: Two excellent "post mortem" summaries at Winds of Change. This story won't be truly "post mortem" for years, as Newsweek's carelessness and utter disregard of the outrage and violent response this would cause will reverberate (and kill) for years to come.
Tracked: May 17, 2005 4:05 PM
Newsweek lied...people died from
Excerpt: Chalk up another colossal blow to the credibility of the "mainstream media" w/the revelation (and now admission) that the Newsweek story about US military officials flushing the Koran down the toilet as a means of interrogating detainees in the...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 4:28 PM
Excerpt: We call it "Classiness, All Around Us." Click to explore more In no particular order, presents classiness from the blogosphere (now with 50% more classy!): 1. The SCOTUSblog picks apart the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision striki...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 5:44 PM
Still Stuck In Korangate from Daily Pundit
Excerpt: Newsweek Retracts Account of Koran Abuse by U.S. Military - New York TimesAfter a drumbeat of criticism from the Bush...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 5:59 PM
Fight Amongst Yourselves Redux from The Fourth Rail
Excerpt: Further evidence surfaces of the conflicts between the local Iraqi tribes in Western Iraq and the foreign terrorists of al Qaeda. Knight Ridder reports the local Iraqi tribes of Albu Mahal and Albu Nimr, some of whom have been active...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 7:32 PM
Excerpt: Winds of Change has a lengthy breakdown of the Newsweek melodrama and pontificates that the lack of political...
Tracked: May 17, 2005 8:56 PM
On the Winds from Mudville Gazette
Excerpt: Winds of Change looks at the lack of intellectual diversity in America's newsrooms - and the consequences thereof. Joe Katzman says "This is why "South Park Conservatives" are flourishing". He's right - and it's also why the blogosphere thrives. In...
Tracked: May 18, 2005 3:21 AM
Excerpt: As is his wont, Joe Katzman has an excellent roundup....
Tracked: May 21, 2005 2:34 PM
Blogworthies LXVII from The Blog from the Core
Excerpt: Blogworthies: A weekly round-up of noteworthy entries from a variety of weblogs on a variety of topics.


What were they thinking? Because I've never personally seen a copy of the Koran, I've just searched Google:

There is no physical way that one could conceivably flush the Koran, or any other Holy Book I know, down the toilet! Was there no editor who realized that the claim, as written, was physically impossible?

It just goes to show that the MSM is so eager to do another Watergate & take down a Republican administration that they will believe, or pretend to believe, anything that they hope will do the job.

The MSM’s habitual incompetence, hypocrisy, and outright dishonesty are having nearly the same negative effect on America as would deliberate treason during wartime.

We are nearly 4 years into the War On Terror and our MSM behaves as if America is the main enemy.

World War 2 was finished in 4 years, and if the MSM of the 1940s had behaved like the one we’ve got now, America might have lost.

We know that an open society has a necessary and legitimate need for someone to perform the “watchdog” function. But our current MSM is performing this function with stunning incompetence and barely concealed dishonesty – all the while hiding behind the protections the function must legitimately have.

And they are in vociferous denial that they even have a problem. Thus, THEY will never be able to solve it. Change will have to come from outside the profession. Kifaya! Four years of waiting is ENOUGH!

The rest of us should start to think about some formal “rules changes” for this diseased industry.

Perhaps product liability concepts could be applied to shoddy MSM information products, and when they cause harm – make it much easier for the people harmed to “SUE the bastards”!

something liberals of an older, John Stuart Mill-stripe would have welcomed.

The only JS Mill Liberals, Classical Liberals, that exist are Republicans, (and Liberatarians). and no longer call themselves Liberals.

Those that call themselves Liberals, are either Communists or Socialist-Lite, and are the polar opposite of Liberals.

And the Commie Liberals have made Liberal a bad word, A pity.

I dont give them a pass that Bernie gives them.

And I dont for a reason, they give a pass to mass murder, their double standard extends all the way to crimes against humanity.

How would a M Moore be treated, if he depicted kite flying german children, keeping the death camps out of view....

The news media knew of the crimes against humanity, they even spoke of things they could not say while Saddam still ruled, and they spoke in support of that brutal regime. The baby milk factory stunt was not the worst, they knew of their own guides having their tounge cut out, knew about the torture, knew about the kids kidnapped from school for sex toys and live tiger food.

They knew the character of this regime, they knew.

Dan Rathers interview of Saddam, wanting to create sympathy in the west, M Moore doing the same.

Walter Durranties they are, only more savy on the level of leftist lies they can get away with, the level of anti-americanism they can feed the public.

For the left, their enemy is the decent man, his morality intact, his freedom valued, his tradition and his faith. there is nothing they hate more.

FWIW, the allegation initially comes for a Human Rights Watch report.

This will take awhile to look up, but you simply need to search for "Koran" in the page, keep looking, and the allegation will come up.

Also, this came up in the The Philadelphia Inquirer:

"By Frank Davies
Inquirer Washington Bureau


Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Koran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet, said Kristine Huskey [an attorney in Washington, D.C.], who interviewed clients late last month. Others said that pills were hidden in their food and that people came to their cells claiming to be their attorneys, to gain information.

"All have been physically abused, and, however you define the term, the treatment of these men crossed the line," [attorney Tom] Wilner said. "There was torture, make no mistake about it." ...

There's also another Human Rights Watch report on this.

From Andrew Sullivan.

Also, a couple of pieces worth reading by Josh Marshall.

Here's the first

And here's the second

The second Marshall links talks about how But only a few days earlier, in a briefing on Thursday, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said that the senior commander in Afghanistan believed the protests had stemmed from that country's reconciliation process.

It would be worthwhile to gather all the facts, soberly, truly, deeply, before rushing to judgment.

Gee, I wonder what kind of firestorm would have been touched off if it was reported that an interrogator had flushed a Bible down the toilet while interviewing Eric Rudolph. Imagine the outrage that would be generated in the media with story after story about how Christians were infuriated. Whaa? Huh?

One of the things that very few have commented on is just how difficult it is to flush a book of several hundred pages down a standard toilet to begin with. Unless you're doing it page by page (as one detainee apparently did), you better have a plunger handy since that seems like the most likely result.

I don't think the allegations are that a Koran was successfully flushed, only that in part of the whole shaming/taunting interrogation bit, a Koran was thrown in a toilet and then the toilet was flushed. This would seem to fit in with the strategy detailed by other reports from Gitmo, such as the recent FBI mention of female interrogators smearing fake menstrual blood on detainees.

I'm not inclined to automatically discount all of the accounts, because they aren't all coming from al Qaeda operatives or closely associated detainees. Not that this clears Newsweek of specific wrongdoing here, but it does tend to lower the "outrage factor" that should be associated with the whole thing. I think the correct stance is to be outraged at Newsweek as well as outraged at our leadership for the majority of horrible reports coming out of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib which haven't been shot down. Hopefully ideology and partisanship wouldn't preclude both.

[Marshal "Smokin Joe" Katzman: We-all are gonna haul our friend here to the tank fer a bit, so's he kin cool down.]

JC -

Thanks for the link to the Talking Points Memo blaming all of this on another Bush-Rove conspiracy.

I printed it out. The next time I'm at Neverland Ranch I'm going to flush it down one of Michael Jackson's gold-plated toilets and force Geraldo Rivera to watch.

None of the reports from SAO's first paragraph bother me one bit. The fact that they're at all an issue bothers me far more. Frankly, I find that ridiculous - and symptomatic.

RE: JC's reports from a detainee's lawyer. After lawyer Lynn Stewart was convicted of aiding and abetting terrorist activities while serving as a terrorist's legal counsel, and given the fact that making such allegations is in al-Qaeda's manual (see above), I want pretty damn iron-clad proof before I believe one syllable of abuse allegations from either class of person.

As for Josh Marshall's article, he's whining that... get this... the Bush Administration wants to decapitate another news organization. and I'm supposed to take him seriously. At all. Yeah, right.

Newsflash, Marshall: Newsweek did act improperly in this case. That's really clear now. A bunch of people are dead, and this was used, directly, as incitement. As any idiot with 2 synapses and a neuron could have predicted.

Yes, reporters make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Supposedly, however, the responsibility of a professional news organization, as opposed to unpaid bloggers like me (or so they never tire of telling me) is not to do that. When they do, there are public consequences. They're being felt now. And after watching terrorists and mass-murderers get a benefit of the doubt that's routinely denied to U.S. forces, I'm deeply unsympathetic to Marshall's whining about this.

I actually did have some sympathy for Falkoff and Evan Thomas. Then Newsweek issued its ridiculous and inflammatory non-apology, and that vanished.

The readiness to not only believe such accounts, but publish them in wartime, in full knowledge and disregard of the likely effects (sorry, not even journalists can be THAT ignorant if they're covering this particular story)... and THEN not to even try to contain the damage.... My God, they had it explained to them, and they didn't even try.

That's bigger than "mistake." It's damn near criminal negligence.

Kifaya! Enough!

These guys aren't responsible for national security decisions, or protecting the lives of millions, or any other level of serious responsibility that might justify an argument that they had to make a snap decision. Nor were they on any kind of timetable situation connected to some larger responsibility, where waiting would have negative consequences. There was, frankly, NO pressing reason to run this story.


Except that they wanted to sell some magazines, and they wanted to take a shot at the current administration. Nice addition to the climate wherein the ridiculous, namby-panby situations cited in SAO's 1st paragraph when dealing with captured terrorists are supposed to be some kind of scandal.

The effect on American goals, and freedom in the Muslim world? On the Afghanis? On the kids from Robin's class who could come back dead because of this idiocy?

Just collateral damage in the war, I guess.

And I'm not talking about the war on al-Qaeda.


What did we expect? For a progressively long time, we have expected as much from MSM News reporting, as has been expected from Market Tabloids.

How mistakenly we have lost our right to hold both truth and freedom in our privileged hands, when simultaneously around the World, lives lost in this contentiousness.

On a different note: Coupled with the distain for the MSM's projection of fear and hatred throughout the World, who can respect trials by Media, that are surely not concerned with our civil liberties, but solely the effects of ratings?

Differences of opinion, is the beauty of Democracy. The positive direction of the blogesphere, proves that we individually as Right/Left/Libertarian/Socialists/classic Liberals/what have you, must move out of the age of passivity. Media Trust is Plummeting, but will (and must) morph into something new.



Joe: I want pretty damn iron-clad proof before I believe one syllable of abuse allegations from either class of person.

The three persons cited in the Human Rights Watch reports are UK citizens. Two of them are from Tipton, UK, and the British press refers to them as "The Tipton Taliban".

The accounts of what these people were doing in Afghanistan, and how they ended up in US/Alliance custody, are extremely strange. The two from Tipton were part of a group of three Brit Muslims who all knew each other and went to the same High School. Yet they all went to Afghanistan separately but at the same time, giving different reasons to their families.

They all went to Afghanistan in late September 2001, and they all told their families that they were going to Pakistan. Asif Iqbal actually took his father with him to Pakistan, supposedly to find a bride. Once he was there he ditched Dad and disappeared, until he was captured by the Northern Alliance in northern Afghanistan.

Shafiq Rasul told his family he was going to Pakistan to take a computer course. Somehow he wound up at Mazar-e-Sharif prison and was detained after the riot that killed Johnny Spann.

All of these creeps are known liars, and if they aren't murderers as well it's only because they can't shoot straight.

And the leftist religion that piled up 100+ Million skulls is expected to change because one out of their constant stream of lies and distortions are discovered every now and again.

Not one bloody sentence handed down by Marx and printed in the lefts holy books have even been questioned much less altered.

They are relentless, they are not finished with the lies or their mountain of skulls.

And they have most of the kids, brainwashing them.

Yeah Joe, we are supposed to feel chastened because we might have dared offend the sensibility of a terrorist that would rape and kill your wife and kids and make you watch.

In the beslan school the 11yr and older was taken by twos and 3s to other rooms to rape them, then knife them when they was done, only to go fetch two more.

We are supposed to be sensitive to these creatures. by dictate from the left, who never find fault with evil.

Morality inverted, they hate the good and the decent, and in command of the all powerfull state that leftism requires, make mountains of skulls, out of the good and the decent, that they hate.

Even Norman Geras is beginning to see this, you can read it in his writing.

Perhaps he is close to his epiphany, his inflection point, his Zen.

He is certainly closer than the hate driven ghouls of our media.

This was just another smear job on America. All because the wrong guy (not criminal against humanity glorifying John Kerry) is in charge.

For another example of the problem with our media, see Robert Spencer's article here.


You had a pretty good rant going there, until that last line. Actually, you could have cut the first 4 paragraphs too. They detract from a focused argument.

I don't know who "criminal against humanity glorifying John Kerry" is... but then again, I don't really follow all the new rap stars.

Oh Lord, I've just used "John Kerry" and "rap" in the same sentence... it's creating a mental image... can't... escape... visions... hearing... sounds... can't... dislodge... juxtaposition.

Damn. Now look what you've made me do.

One can wonder if He (John Kerry) was ever confronted with his Hero HoChiMihn's crimes against humanity, his 5% death quota, his personal mountain of skulls, the 500,000 or so that drowned attempting to escape his benevolent rule....

If Kerry would reconsider, if he was the "George Washington" Of Vietnam. the VeitMihn that he met in Paris twice, documented with translated intercepts

John Kerry – Communist agent of influence

Prior to the discovery of the Circular, there was no direct evidence that Hanoi was actually steering the U.S. antiwar movement's activities by conveying Hanoi's goals and wishes to movement leaders during their frequent visits to Paris, though many investigators had assumed that to be the case. Further analysis of this document supports the contention that Madame Binh used her Paris meeting with John Kerry to instruct him on how he and the VVAW might best serve as Hanoi's surrogates in the United States.

Course, an honest media, not a leftist media would have jumped on these memos like Dan Rather jumped on his fakes.

These are not fakes, and have a clean chain of custody.

But these papers make Kerry look bad, not Bush, and thats the reason the media wont touch them.

They are not usefull as leftist tools so they are not interested.

Kerry didnt get away with this, thats why he wont sign form 180 I suspect, it would show he used his position to get his discharge years after the fact, and his medals re issued.

The media is covering up for John Kerry, who called a man guilty of crimes against humanity, "George Washington" who met with the Veitmihn to colaborate agaisnt the united states and put our POWS, enduring torture, as risk and in limbo for another two years, so that more could die and not make it home.

John Kerry threw the war criminals a lifeline, and while they delayed for 2 years arguing over the size of the table and chairs and the color of the table cloth, Kerry worked his undermine program.

If we had a honest media, not a leftist media, more would know that.

More would know that John Kerry was the lifeline of hope for the VC, and a important figure in events that end in Red Khimer style camps for millions, and for half a million, under the waters of the south china sea.

Lots of background on the Tipton Taliban.

Asif Iqbal, who might be the originator of the toilet story, is a violent former disciple of Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal:

Mr. Faisal sketched a world of conspiracies, of cabals of Jews and Freemasons plotting to take over the world ... On some of his tapes, he speaks of why Muslims can never have peace with the "filthy Jews," and of Muslims' right to kill a Hindu if they encounter one in the road ...
Asif and his friends were briefly taken with Mr. Faisal, but then moved on. They learned about Hizb ut-Tahrir, and attended lectures given by a recruiter for Al Muhajiroun. They argued that the Palestinians' conflict with Israel justified jihad ... Then came Sept. 11.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a Salafist splinter sect specializing in anti-American propaganda. Their members wear Western clothing and pose as assimilated Britons.

Other British Muslims oppose Hizb ut-Tahrir for their non-traditional dress, their consorting with Shi'ites, and their weird beliefs. Interesting, one of the things Hizb ut-Tahrir teachs is that it is okay to look at nude photographs - precisely the thing that Asif claims he was forced to do at Gitmo:

Also this party has various peculiar opinions - so for example they allow nude photographs, they allow one to look at photographs and this contains great danger due to a Sharee'ah point then it is the Prophet's (sas) saying: "let not a woman describe another woman to her husband - as if he were looking at her." ...
What is more dangerous is that they have turned all their attention to accusing the rulers. 'this one is an American (stooge), this one is a British (stooge)' - as if there were no-one else in the worlds except America and Britain and as if it were America and Britain who were running the affairs of creation. And this causes people to turn away from the correct understanding of their Deen and away from Allah's way of changing the affairs.

They are also accused of treating the Koran and Hadiths with disrespect: "they debate about Allah without knowledge, without Guidance, without Book and without Light."

If there was a prisoner at Gitmo who flushed a Koran, then Asif Iqbal has to be a prime suspect.


One of the things I find interesting about the connection between the toilet story, Asif Iqbal, and Hizb ut-Tahrir is that it points up something that doesn't get enough attention in studies of Islamicism: The presence of a purely political quasi-Marxist-Leninism, of the sort that used to dominate Palestinian terrorism.

Although Hizb ut-Tahrir is Salafist in origin, Muslim critics say that it is anti-spiritual and that members mock Muslims who observe traditional prayers and rituals. HT's entire focus is on bringing about Islamic revolution by any means necessary, but stressing political agitation (Hizb ut-Tahrir means "Party of Liberation"). They have a website which is full of anti-capitalist claptrap.

HT could be, at heart, a socialist revolutionary movement that sees Islam as a useful cover and recruiting pool. Or they could take the view that all Islamic observance is meaningless until an Islamic State is established - rather like the Marxist view that morality is meaningless prior to the development of Communism.

Either way, such a group would not be above actually instigating incidents of desecration, not merely spreading lies and rumors about desecration. I think we can look forward to seeing a LOT more of this kind of thing, with tools like Newsweek playing right along.

• May 16, 2005 | 9:45 p.m. ET

The resignation of Scott McClellan (Keith Olbermann)

SECAUCUS -- I smell something - and it ain’t a copy of the Qu’ran sopping wet from being stuck in a toilet in Guantanamo Bay. It’s the ink drying on Scott McClellan’s resignation, and in an only partly imperfect world, it would be drifting out over Washington, and imminently.

Last Thursday, General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld’s go-to guy whenever the situation calls for the kind of gravitas the Secretary himself can’t supply, told reporters at the Pentagon that rioting in Afghanistan was related more to the on-going political reconciliation process there, than it was to a controversial note buried in the pages of Newsweek claiming that the government was investigating whether or not some nitwit interrogator at Gitmo really had desecrated a Muslim holy book.

But Monday afternoon, while offering himself up to the networks for a series of rare, almost unprecedented sit-down interviews on the White House lawn, Press Secretary McClellan said, in effect, that General Myers, and the head of the after-action report following the disturbances in Jalalabad, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, were dead wrong. The Newsweek story, McClellan said, “has done damage to our image abroad and it has done damage to the credibility of the media and Newsweek in particular. People have lost lives. This report has had serious consequences.”

Whenever I hear Scott McClellan talking about ‘media credibility,’ I strain to remember who it was who admitted Jeff Gannon to the White House press room and called on him all those times.

Whenever I hear this White House talking about ‘doing to damage to our image abroad’ and how ‘people have lost lives,’ I strain to remember who it was who went traipsing into Iraq looking for WMD that will apparently turn up just after the Holy Grail will - and at what human cost.

Newsweek’s version of this story has varied from the others over the last two years - ones in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, and British and Russian news organizations - only in that it quoted a government source who now says he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of whether or not the investigation took place (oops, sorry, shoulda mentioned that, buh-bye). All of its other government connections - the ones past which it ran the story - have gone from saying nothing like ‘don’t print this, it ain’t true’ or ‘don’t print this, it may be true but it’ll start riots,’ to looking slightly confused and symbolically saying ‘Newsweek? Newsweek who?’

Whatever I smell comes from this odd sequence of events: Newsweek gets blasted by the White House, apologizes over the weekend but doesn't retract its story. Then McClellan offers his Journalism 101 outdoor seminar and blasts the magazine further. Finally, just before 5 PM Monday, the Dan Rather drama replaying itself in its collective corporate mind, Newsweek retracts.

I’m always warning about the logical fallacy - the illusion that just because one event follows another, the latter must have necessarily caused the former. But when I wondered tonight on Countdown if it applied here, Craig Crawford reassured me. “The dots connect.”

The real point, of course, is that you’d have to be pretty dumb to think that making a threat at Gitmo akin to ‘Spill the beans or we’ll kill this Qu’ran’ would have any effect on the prisoners, other than to eventually leak out and inflame anti-American feelings somewhere. Of course, everybody in the prosecution of the so-called ‘war on terror’ has done something dumb, dating back to the President’s worst-possible-word-selection (“crusade”) on September 16, 2001. So why wouldn’t some mid-level interrogator stuck in Cuba think it would be a good idea to desecrate a holy book? Jack Rice, the former CIA special agent and now radio host, said on Countdown that it would be a “knuckleheaded” thing to do, but “plausible.”

One of the most under-publicized analyses of 9/11 concludes that Osama Bin Laden assumed that the attacks on the U.S. would galvanize Islamic anger towards this country, and they'd overthrow their secular governments and woo-hoo we've got an international religious war. Obviously it didn't happen. It didn't even happen when the West went into Iraq. But if stuff like the Newsweek version of a now two-year old tale about toilets and Qu’rans is enough to set off rioting in the streets of countries whose nationals were not even the supposed recipients of the ‘abuse’, then weren’t those members of the military or the government with whom Newsweek vetted the plausibility of its item, honor-bound to say “you can’t print this”?

Or would somebody rather play politics with this? The way Craig Crawford reconstructed it, this one went similarly to the way the Killian Memos story evolved at the White House. The news organization turns to the administration for a denial. The administration says nothing. The news organization runs the story. The administration jumps on the necks of the news organization with both feet - or has its proxies do it for them.

That’s beyond shameful. It’s treasonous.

It’s also not very smart. While places like the Fox News Channel (which, only today, I finally recognized - it’s the newscast perpetually running on the giant video screens in the movie “1984”) ask how many heads should roll at Newsweek, it forgets in its fervor that both the story and the phony controversy around it are not so cut-and-dried this time.

Firstly, the principal reporter on the Gitmo story was Michael Isikoff - “Spikey” in a different lifetime; Linda Tripp’s favorite journalist, and one of the ten people most responsible (intentionally or otherwise) for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Spikey isn’t just a hero to the Right - the Right owes him.

And larger still, in terms of politics, this isn't well-defined, is it? I mean Conservatives might parrot McClellan and say ‘Newsweek put this country in a bad light.’ But they could just as easily thump their chests and say ‘See, this is what we do to those prisoners at Gitmo! You guys better watch your asses!’

Ultimately, though, the administration may have effected its biggest mistake over this saga, in making the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs look like a liar or naïf, just to draw a little blood out of Newsweek’s hide. Either way - and also for that tasteless, soul-less conclusion that deaths in Afghanistan should be lain at the magazine’s doorstep - Scott McClellan should resign. The expiration on his carton full of blank-eyed bully-collaborator act passed this afternoon as he sat reeling off those holier-than-thou remarks. Ah, that’s what I smelled.

[Marshal "Smokin Joe" Katzman: Raymond, your first post on this subject was pushing it but borderline relevant. This one escalates to the status of off topic diversion and is gone.]

Joe Katzman,

Anderson is clearly out of his if he thinks that South Park is "conservative." South Park is libertarian and this is why it so often skewers the religious.


Republicans aren't classical liberals. They're statists.

How would a M Moore be treated, if he depicted kite flying german children, keeping the death camps out of view....

Well, given that the allies bypassed any efforts to stop the death camps during WWII until troops actually seized them...

RC and Raymond, please keep your comments shorter. Link to an external site if you want to reference an article - don't quote the whole thing here. That's an abuse of our bandwidth AND it's less likely to get your point across. And Raymond, please try to stay focused on this thread. I know that you feel this is all connected to Kerry and others, but it doesn't help the conversation here to keep replowing that ground.

To the MSM, "diversity" means having white liberals balanced by black liberals; male liberals by female liberals; urban liberals by suburban liberals; jewish liberals by protestant liberals by catholic liberals by atheist liberals by ....; John Kerry-voting liberals by Ralph Nader-voting liberals. Editor and Publisher's poll showing the MSM divide being 68% Kerry, 25% Bush, surprised me only in that Bush got as high as 25%.

Republicans aren't classical liberals. They're statists.

Some are Indeed, too many, Larry Elder is no stasist however, there are a substantial body of Libertarian flavored Republians.

Me. im not so sure, do i lose my Laissez faire, Free market credentials if I oppose slave labor ?
How about the fact that i dont appose the current form of temporary, time limited welfare as an emergency safety net ... pretty much like we have now, after the reforms ... Care of the disabled ....

Whoops guess that gives me the boot from the Ayn Rand Club. not that they dont have some good ideas .. am i a staisist ? a socialist ?

I dont see emergency stopgaps as socialism, as long as they are emergency and stopgap.

While I admit to some leeway on cheap labor, slave labor, undermining the livelyhoods of freemen, smacks too much of the same outrage that was the chattle slavery of the south, which in addition to the outrage of slavery itself, also prevents any real market of the true value of labor.

In an otherwise honest system, even the sweatshops lay the foundation for a rising tide of wealth, and rising market value of a mans work. But slave labor, marxist slavery included ....

Yes im a fan of Postrel, im a dynamist, well to an extent .. dont think that make me a stasist tho. Im fond of the Austrian school, not the Kensians.

When Goldwater and Reagan started this freedom forward thing, did they know what they unleashed?

Because if they didnt mean it, those that accepted the message certainly do. Me thinks I and the South Park bunch, would get along just fine.

Yeah, the republicans have those chek pants and lefty flavored creaps, but I dont get the sense they are the future, I see people with views i share as their future. Certainly better than the future portended by John Kerry and Howard Dean the dems are looking at.


How about the fact that i dont appose the current form of temporary, time limited welfare as an emergency safety net ... pretty much like we have now, after the reforms ...

If you that is what is exists now you are fooling yourself.

Care of the disabled ....

By private organizations.

Whoops guess that gives me the boot from the Ayn Rand Club.

Ayn Rand was an objectivist and not a libertarian. Indeed, she despised libertarians.

I dont see emergency stopgaps as socialism, as long as they are emergency and stopgap.

Being a statist and being a socialist are two different things. Learn the difference.

While I admit to some leeway on cheap labor...

Some "leeway?" What, you're only favor of a modest minimum wage? Or to modest subsidies for "domestic" employers? :)

Well, given that the allies bypassed any efforts to stop the death camps during WWII until troops actually seized them...

Dont know what we could have done....

I do know about the Jewish refugees we refused entry however, thats enough to leave a nice black mark.

We know how our troops saw things when they got there tho, outrage, letters written home expressing outrage, in cases the camp guard SS being lined up and shot out of anger.

I wont defend the behavior of a man that called Stalin "Uncle Joe", who did much trucking for Stalin long before the war.

FDR knew the truth about the man, dispite Durranty and his fellow communist sympathisers. By the time Hitler had his progroms going, one wonders if they cared any more about one socialist progrom than the other Socialist progrom.

We certainly had leftists in the media covering up socialist progroms.

This latest incident of Michael Isikoff’s inadequate sourcing may be the most embarrassing one yet for Newsweek, but it is not the first. Last August, Isikoff began his coverage of the resignation of New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey with a false, anonymously-sourced tale about how the Governor had broken his leg years before. Despite 911 tapes and several different eyewitness accounts that were widely available and proved the story untrue, Isikoff deceived readers by presenting as factual a rumor that had been often repeated but never substantiated.

Unfortunately, both Isikoff and Newsweek editors turned a blind eye to the corrected information that was presented to them after publication. There is no way to tell whether the recent violence could have been prevented if Newsweek had paid attention to Isikoff’s sourcing sooner. This much is clear: poor journalism is a scourge that crosses all party lines, religious persuasions and international boundaries.

Don't ever let another sonofabitch tell you that the rape of Lidice, that the slaughter of 2,000,000 Jews in Poland, that the human furnaces, that the concentration camps you read about are lies. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen the unbelievable.

You should read it all

Point is i dont think America was getting the whole story then,, perhaps not a lot worse than now, I think we started being lied to all the way back in the 30s

Not tabloid lies, etc, that you can expect, Im talking about lies to further an agenda, a leftist agenda.

Nice addition to the climate wherein the ridiculous, namby-panby situations cited in SAO's 1st paragraph when dealing with captured terrorists are supposed to be some kind of scandal.

I don't think the "namby pamby" stuff qualifies as torture, which is why I referred to them as interrogation tactics.

However, "namby pamby" stuff is not all that is going on here. At the time Abu Ghraib broke GOP senators who saw ALL of the evidence (not the partial set we saw) said that this stuff was just the tip of the iceburg. Remember there were pictures of men who had been clearly beaten to death as well as sexual humiliation, shaming, etc.

Reality Central -

So the administration is "treasonous" for criticizing Newsweek. I guess that makes me a traitor, too. In fact, this whole blog is shot through with more traitors than a Quisling family reunion.

Fortunately the stout patriots of the "reality-based community" are willing to take a bullet for Newsweek, just like they did for CBS. Of course CBS went down anyway, but it's the futile symbolism that counts.


I'd be a little more excited about your "new media" rising theory, but I don't think it's going to end up being very "new" at all. From what I've seen so far, we're just going to have another top-down regime of political correctness- but substituting conservatism and nationalism for liberalism and diversity.

Of course I think there should be some sort of informal bounds that hold back stories such as this one mentioned, but I think the direction we're heading is going to lead to one helluva backlash from moderate folks who don't want a bunch of jingo bullshit shoved down their throats 24/7. I hope the new media atmosphere will be one with a place for blogs, but I'm guessing it's going to be a place for blowhards... ie. Sean Hannity before Joe Katzman.

I'd also like to point out that as far as "root causes" go, you've totally reversed yourself from the position you took against Juan Cole when he made the craptacular "our dead GI's = Israel's fault" line. Remember he blamed a soldier's murder on Israeli provoaction, while you denied that was even a remotely justifiable conclusion. In my opinion you were both quite wrong.

That's really the heart of the problem with the new political correctness; you cannot discuss complex issues with MULTIPLE root causes in any sane manner without being berrated as either a traitor or a warpig. In this sense, it's more than a little ironic that your post indirectly mentions John Stuart Mills, whose "law of seperate causes" is surely the antithesis of this willed confusion.

This is great! If one koran flushed down a supposedly fictional toilet equals 19 dead fanatics, does that mean if I flush 10 korans down the supposedly fictional toilet there will be 190 dead fanatics. I think I'm seeing the Iraq exit strategy. Quickly, everybody buy korans, flush 'em down the toilet, and call newsweek.

On the serious side, I would like to see some media commentary on things like the terrorist takeover and trashing of the church of the nativity in Jerusalem several years ago. If one were to take muslim sensibilities and apply it to that desecration, the pope would have declared holy war, and john kerry could have a clear conscience delivering nukes to Mecca. The average MSM editor should realize that Western newscopy is also read by islamofascist psycopaths with an IQ somewhat less than my rambunctious labrador retriever. It is generally understood that you don't show violence or pornography to children because they are not intellectually and emotionally capable of processing the information in an analytical way. Ditto for the MSM on inflamatory news to Islamofascists. They are not intellectually or emotionally capable of processing the information. Print that please newsweek and every body but the islamofascists will understand.


Good points - thanks.

Don't be too hard on Joe though - he's just doing his job, so he isn't going to able to admit fault, or another person's points, at least in public. Off the record, get a beer in him, get him relaxed maybe then you can have a frank conversation, but otherwise we are simply pushing back on the neo-con hive-mind, and for centrist liberals, an opportunity to see how the other side thinks.

At any rate, for what it's worth, here's a letter from Rep. Conyers about political opportunism.

I don't necessarily agree with all of it, but for those who wish to see what the other side is thinking, click away.

Joe of course, will snarkily dismiss anything in the letter - but don't believe him, don't believe me, read all the various links posted in comments for yourself, and decide for yourself.

You might be right, John. :-)

Joe, as to the peanut gallery, you might as well just write them off. They're only trolling, so a serious response would be wasted on them.

Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Koran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet, said Kristine Huskey [an attorney in Washington, D.C.], who interviewed clients late last month.

Perhaps some us of have forgotten what terrorists are instructed to do if captured.

Pay careful attention to Lesson 18, points 1 and 2.

Color me unconvinced by stories from HRW, plainiffs attorneys, and terrorists.

Raymond, speaking of crimes against humanity: Has it ever occured to you that if America had supported the independence of many of the countries, either by force of arms or liberating its own colonies and quasi colonies, that used Marxist ideas to overthrow us and other colonists you would not being worrying about your skull count? But since I know conservatives had no intention of giving these people their freedom your false moralistic whining about peoples deaths is nauseating, let alone not onn point.

SAO (#29), the points in your second paragraph, that there were serious cases of felony abuse in Abu Ghraib (and it's possible to have that without people dying), are true and well taken. See WSJ for specifics.

That doesn't lessen my annoyance at the clamor of voices who seem very interested in "defining torture down," throwing the word around without a thought for the gravity or consequences and proposing measures that handcuff U.S. forces

Well, i just spent an hour at dKos trying to explain to them that that sloppy-at-best and malicious-at-worst "journalism" is going to cost lives.
Here is one thing i said, and it will most likely be deleted like my other twenty comments. Joe, would you save it for me, please?
Ahhh, the awesome power of Scoop. I burned two nics to troll ranking, too!

What Newsweek did was wrong. The flushing-the-Qu'ran story has now passed into the collective mythology of Islamic culture-- like an urban legend, it is always going to be there. there are muslims that want to believe things like this, because it justifies hatred.
A retraction will do nothing to remove it. It is cognitive neuroscience in action. This myth will cause actual deaths.

Newsweek has created a myth that will be permanently lodged in the collective Islamic consciousness.

Now i understand that you fancy yourselves the "conscience of America", but i think you should consider the real, actual, permanent damage that Newsweek caused by running with an unvalidated story.

Or are you too busy counting political coup to be interested in this?

Good reporting would also have noted the regulations that exist for this very situation. Here are the rules for military personal handling a Qu'ran
If a soldier had violated those regs, wouldn't he be under investigation?

SAO: as far as "root causes" go, you've totally reversed yourself from the position you took against Juan Cole when he made the craptacular "our dead GI's = Israel's fault" line.

Now, I know that you can't be claiming that these two statements are equivalent:

1. Israel's Likud policies are responsible for the murder of Navy Lt. Jones-Huffman, shot because he "looked Jewish".

2. Newsweek's handling of this story (part of a broader pattern in MSM coverage of the WoT) is responsible for the deaths of the people killed in the ensuing riots.

Statement #1 is another defective mental product of Dr. Juan Cole, who is constitutionally protected from product liability laws - lucky for him.

#2, on the other hand, is a statement taken very seriously by a broad range of sober people, and even by Newsweek itself. It will certainly have consequences not only for Newsweek, but for journalism in general. (Also note that Joe properly expanded the responsibility in #2 to include "the hateful violence at the heart of our Islamofascist enemies".)

If you're trying to claim that J.S. Mill would call these statements equivalent, then I hope his angry ghost does an Amityville Horror job on your house. You'll have nobody but yourself to blame.

As for Mill's Plurality of Causes, it does not sanction moral equivalence, or diminish moral responsibility by spreading it all over the place. Murder and "looking Jewish" are not morally equivalent acts, even when these two causes combine to produce a single tragic effect.

Newsweak press credentials should be revoked. Their reporters and other staff menmbers should not be allowed to attend any press conference or any other event sponsored by a Federal agency.

Any reporter sharing information with Newsweak should also have their credentials revoked.

Any Federal employee at any level that provides information on any topic to a Newsweak reporter shall be suspensed without pay for a three days, for the first offense, nine days for the second offense and fired for the thrid offense.

Newsweak should be held responsible for the deaths of those people and supenas issued seizing all files and computers at the corporate offices, reporter's homes and the homes of the corporate officers. (Let's see them get the next issue out without any computers.)


I'll add to Glen's point in #40, and note that that comparing the Huffman case to a case in which that very Newsweek issue was held up and used as direct incitement, based on the presumed varacity of its content, with the result that many people died in the subsequent riots... the comparison simply abandons all logic.

Now, I know that you can't be claiming that these two statements are equivalent:

Exactly morally 100% equivalent? No. Equivalent in that they both demonstrate an "intermixture of (causal) effects"? Yes.

I'd say the mixture varies, but does not necessarily "diminish moral responsibility by spreading it all over the place."

Murder and "looking Jewish" are not morally equivalent acts, even when these two causes combine to produce a single tragic effect.

That really sounds good but you couldn't be more intellectually dishonest. Sadly, we aren't on Crossfire, as I'm sure that would have been a golden soundbite.


That's really the heart of the problem with the new political correctness; you cannot discuss complex issues with MULTIPLE root causes in any sane manner without being berrated as either a traitor or a warpig.

Just because multiple root causes might exist for a particular action does not mean that they can not be assigned relative levels of importance. For example, the Islamic rioting based on the reports of the Koran being flushed down the toilet probably had at least two root causes:
(1) The report
(2) Islamic fundamentalism
Some might think (1) was more important than (2) or vice versa; in this case, #1 appeared to be the proximal cause of the event which is why it is being considered (by most) to be the true root cause. In science, you always try to get to a causal relationship; since we cannot control for #2, strictly speaking, we cannot prove that the report caused the riots - it could have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

As another example, extensive outsourcing to India might be due to:
(1) lower labor costs
(2) reduced trade barriers
(3) the Internet bubble
(4) high level of English
This is a great example of a complex issue with multiple root causes. But in this case, we can be fairly comfortable asserting that (1), (2), and (4) existed for some time without extensive outsourcing. (3) lead to irrational telecom spend which led to cheap telecom costs to India, and thus can be described as the cause of outsourcing. Thus, we have disentangled a complex issue to (more or less) one root cause. That doesn't mean that in the absence of (3) outsourcing would never have happened or that in the absence of some combination of (1), (2), and (4), outsourcing would never have happened. That is how a scientist would examine the question.

Apparently, Juan Cole thinks that Jones-Hoffman was killed because he looked Jewish, thanks to Israel's policies. As with the first case, you might want to look a little deeper at the issue; the problem is not Israel's policies as such - which are no worse (certainly) than those of any Arabic country - but with the propaganda that focuses obsessively on Israel. Therefore, you are mistaking a symptom for a cause - the cause is the propaganda-obsession with Israel while the symptom is the anger at Israel's policies that purportedly caused Jones-Hoffman to be killed.

SAO: Exactly morally 100% equivalent? No. Equivalent in that they both demonstrate an "intermixture of (causal) effects"? Yes.

Okay. Can you name one event since the Big Bang that doesn't demonstrate an intermixture of causal events?

you couldn't be more intellectually dishonest.

Looking who's talking. My intellectual dishonesty was caused by the intermixture of my dishonest intellect with the bad logic that you posted in #31. So it's your fault, too. Besides, Joe started it, so blame him.

since I know conservatives had no intention of giving these people their freedom your false moralistic whining about peoples deaths is nauseating, let alone not on point.

False ?
Whining ?

The point is the leftist media cover up of leftist crimes against humanity.

As to the tangle and wriggling in view prior to your reference to a point, its looks like some static laden postmodern channel to Chomsky.

Get yourself a bigger stick of quartz.

Well so i guess if you take notice about a mass grave of Kids, thats "whining" and if you talk about the discovery like there is something wrong with that, well thats "moralistic".

Whereopon the blood stained left, known specifically for creating a mountain of 100 Million skulls will lash you with Orewallian inversion how freeedom is slavery and marxist slavery is freedom.

And to the extent that this leftist brain toxin infects the media (20% less than total saturation) it exaplains why they hate their own couintry, and make excuses for leftist crimes agaist humanty, where all you need is Socialist credentials to get a pass.

Oh, man, Glen. You weren't supposed to tell anyone I started the Big Bang.

Now I'm gonna have all kinds of yahoos begging me to fix football and soccer games for their team. Or make their zits disappear. Or promising to be good forever if I'll just set them up to shag so-and-so. On, and on, and on....

Have you any IDEA how tiring this becomes? Thanks. Thanks a lot!

Simple question -

What is the difference between the KGB using anonymous sources inside the pentagon to extract information damaging to the United States and what Newsweek does?

Why is one group tried for espionage and the other let go?

What is the difference between Isakoff and a KGB spy master?

Does journalism carry with it some sort of exemption from espionage?

If so, why didn't the KGB recruit journalists?

If so, why didn't the KGB recruit journalists?

Because they was already part of the team ?

Few of the communist allies have been as dependable.

Come on people -

Again, here's an article about previous reporting of this type of torture.

"First off, Newsweek couldn't have expected its story to stir up so much Muslim anger, given that details about Guantanamo interrogators allegedly defacing the Koran have been periodically published for more than a year now. A Nexis search reveals multiple mentions of similar allegations, including a March 14, 2004 report in the London Observer that "copies of the Koran would be trampled on by soldiers and, on one occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket"; an August 5, 2004 report in the London Independent that "guards allegedly threw prisoners' Korans into toilets;" and January 2005 reports in the Denver Post and Hartford Courant that some prisoners "were forced to watch copies of the Koran being flushed down toilets." Given that none of these previous reports sparked protest, much less riots, it's unrealistic to expect the magazine's editors to have seen the protests coming -- after all, they thought the detail was insignificant enough to be confined to one sentence in a short report tucked away in the front of the magazine. (True, the Newsweek piece claimed the allegations about disrespecting the Koran came from a government report, while previous pieces relied on eyewitness accounts. But the magazine can be forgiven for not expecting protestors to parse the difference.)"

Who here REALLY believes, given there are 4 previous mentions in newspapers, the previous mentions above in Human Rights Watch - and none of those sparked protest - why is NEWSWEEK irresponsible for deaths??

Who really believes this??


Soldier's Dad:

Newsweek is a domestic organization given license to do so on behalf of the country's rulers, in exchange for functioning as an intelligence service of its own. In the USA, the people are the rulers. Journalists fulfil a function that once took legions of royal spies, if one reads Kautilya et. al. on rulership.

Free socieities propser in part because a market of journalists is better at this job than just about any royal spy service in history.

Not exactly a conventional interpretation of the rationale behind freedom of the press, but there you go.

RE: Your other questions:

  • One is tried and the other let go precisely because of that grant of permission from the rulers of America, which is not true in the foreign agent's case.
  • The spymaster has a more focused mandate, is better informed in certain areas, probably has slightly different people skills, and has markedly less ego. He also has much more extensive expert backup. In general, however, there are a lot of similarities in the skill set and objectives.
  • The exemption's parameters are defined by the constitution and by regulation within its paramters. Bad behaviour can result in tightened parameters for all, but only up to a certain point given the USA's constitution; systems like Canada, Britain, et. al. can tighten up a lot more. Exemptions from prosecution vanish entirely if espionage is committed on behalf of foreign employers, and are much reduced in the case of classified documents.
  • Are you kidding, Soldier Dad? That was one of the KGB's big recruiting focuses! They called them "agents of influence," though they also ran "dezinformatzia" or "disinformation" operations using false rumours et. al. The Czech intelligence service used to specialize in these areas. So, for that matter, did Saddam.

So... Quis custodet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchers?

To some minor extent, the law does watch, as noted above.

Mostly, if you're a citizen, YOU watch - and blogs have made that a lot easier these days. When journalists transgress, you have options to punish them that do not involve altering laws. They are simple, and, if done extensively enough, 100% effective.

Joe, there are two posts I linked to in my morning round-up that you might like to take a look at. Several people have mentioned the difficulty of flushing a copy of the Koran down the toilet. ¡No Pasarán! caught it earlier and have the engineering drawings to prove the point. And Iowahawk has a rude, inflammatory and (IMO) hysterically funny send-up of the whole brouhaha.

Thanks, Dave. I preferred Silent Running's photograhed & blogged "experiement" with a Michael Moore book, added in the updates. Will check out Iowahawk.

And JC, all your piece proves is that Newsweek was serially stupid and reckless rather than bit by a one-off. "Gee, I shouted "fire" with inadequate evidence in a crowded theater before, and everyone was fine... how was I to know?"

A: By having two neurons and a synapse to connect them, and not being stuck with Tom Hanks on some desert island for the last 5 years. Right now, I bet they're missing that volleyball over at Newsweek....


You do know that the Guantanamo prisoners probably have some type of portable toilet, or use some type of bucket as a toilet?

I found this one post claiming that the toilet is a metal hole in the floor, but no links to back it up, so YMMV.

At any rate, clearly the "flushing" story is ludicrous. There is no flushing going on, the prisoners probably don't have a modern septic system. But the "throwing the Quran in the bucket" story may be true.

Newsweek cannot evade responsibility for the deaths of these people. Perhaps the future deaths resulting from the politically motivated mis-reporting can be placed at the door of gullible muslims who believe their clerics just a bit too much. But that is only because Newsweek has finally and totally retracted its pathetic unprofessional story. From now on, the muslims have only themselves to blame.


Man, you are having to twist yourself in ALL KINDS of knots aren't you?

NEWSWEEK was serially reckless?? When I mention all the other organizations??

Ah well, again, people can decide for themselves.

Ah, my mistake. Crowded type, the stories are from elsewhere. Ok, so it means there are more stupid and reckless people in the media than just Newsweek. Which sort of reinfoirces the points in my post above, rather than detracting from them.

JC, I don't know what kind of facilities actually exist for the prisoners at Guantanamo. You don't know, I doubt the people at Newsweek know, and in all probability Newsweek's source, if any, for the story doesn't know, either. It's utterly irrelevant and that's one of the reasons the Silent Running and ¡No Pasarán! posts are funny.

As Dean Esmay pointed out today even if true, the story has no news value. It is not torture. It might be embarrassing to the military and to the Bush Administration but that is not news value. The value is to inflame hypersensitive Muslims. And I say hypersensitive advisedly: Christians did not riot at an “art work” consisting of a crucifix immersed in urine or a picture of the Virgin Mary smeared with dung; Christians did not riot when Palestinian thugs desecrated the Church of the Nativity; Jews did not riot at an Egyptian miniseries dramatizing the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and Buddhists did not riot at the destruction of the large Buddha images destroyed by the Taliban.

Joe, this fits into your “war against bad philosophy theme”. I'm convinced. Terrorism is caused by poverty—intellectual poverty and we've simply got to do something about it. How else can you describe rioting in reaction to unsubstantiated rumors of the damaging of a thing?

I have a question - Something that I just thought of, regarding this topic:

Ever since 9/11, whenever conservative, libertarian, or liberal commentators have asserted that actions and policies by our elected officials in Washington helped motivate terrorist attacks against our nation, they have frequently been characterized as those who "blame America first" for terrorist attacks, and are accused of believing that we deserved to be attacked. They are accused of hating our nation. (Lew Rockwell addressed this claim here, and I gave my perspective about this issue here.)

So as per a broader understanding of the aforementioned axiom, those who believe that actions of American officials in Washington can provide a motivation for violence and terrorism, and that some of those actions may be wrong, are in essence blaming America as a whole, and these "haters" may even be saying that the victims of said acts deserve to be victimized.

But if that is the case - if it is not reasonably acceptable to assert that actions or words of Americans can motivate violent acts by foreign Islamic militants, and that said provocations were wrong - then how can it be considered acceptable to assert that actions or words by a public figure - actions which are wrong - motivated acts of violence and terrorism?

A possible response to my question could be that one action was done by a public elected official, and another action was done by a private organization. But the fact is, some actions by those in Washington (such as Clinton's 1998 bombings of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan - which even David Horowitz said were not only wrong, but also fueled anger and hatred in the Muslim world) are done unilaterally, and under questionable circumstances, without the consent or approval (or sometimes, even the foreknowledge) of the American public. And many of those who hold to the aforementioned belief also believe that those who claim that non-governmental characteristics of our nation, or actions by Americans not within Washington, motivated the terrorist attacks are also "blaming America."

But aside from that, there is the overall logic of the aforementioned axiom - Some of those who belive in it have claimed that to suggest the concept of "provoking terrorism" is equivalent to suggesting the concept of "provoking rape." If this is true, then how can people now assert that the Newsweek magazine article provoked or motivated the terrorism in Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of innocent people?

Please let me know what you think.

A: "Idolatry." Or "attachment" in the most negative possible Buddhist sense, if you desire a gentler term.

Q: Dave Schuler asks: "How else can you describe rioting in reaction to unsubstantiated rumors of the damaging of a thing?"


The map is not the territory. That's why you're not supposed to walk into the damn restaurant and eat the menu. And people have intrinsic worth. That's why the Islamists are wrong here. They were direct agents, with direct influence. They're the most guilty.

You're not supposed to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. Nor are you supposed to routinely show terrorists and mass murders more consideration than the people fighting on your behalf. That's part of why the media are wrong here. They were direct agents (they had a final decision, to pblish) with indirect influence. It isn't all their fault, but they bear a lot of blame.

If assigned to protect your fellows and your citizens, you have to be on the ball when stuff like this comes around, and raise flags re: needless, inflammatory crap without waiting for investigation results because by then, it may be too late. That's why the DoD shares some blame here. They were indirect agents with indirect influence (they could have challenged and had everything happen anyway), but they didn't do all they could here and in the military ethic, that hurts. It ought to. If this behaviour was the result of some stupid bureaucratic policy (which I suspect), kick in as many windows as necessary to change the policy.

The map is not the territory.
Korzybski fan? Science and Sanity and The Manhood of Humanity are two of my favorite books.

Nor are you supposed to routinely show terrorists and mass murders more consideration than the people fighting on your behalf.

Moral inverts I call them, Orwell wrote about this stuff.

And if we dont do something about the moral inversion indoctrination going on in our schools .....

Leftist dictionary, Jingoism, anything that fails to depict the morally superior as evil incarnate, while at the same time turning a blind eye to true evil, especially the leftist evil that created a mountain of 100 Million Skulls.

If you dont start with the premise of blame America first, then your Jingoistic.

Course its to the left that it actually applies, 100 Million murders and devotion to their faith is still not shaken.

Americans are not so blind to our faults. But also see our virtues, that the left refuses to accept the existence therof. even as it dont stop them from taking atvantage of those virtues in their leftist jihad to "tear it all down"

Its a pathology, this perceptual inversion, some of it is agenda, some of it is nurotic defense mechanisms.

But the problem isnt the people, its the leftist idea itself, its a toxin, its a mental disorder.

Im not really all that unhappy to see the frothy mouth mania of the left, unable to control themselves, losing grip on their polimical sense.

They are exposing themselves for what they are, the sheepskin has slipped off the wolf.

And the illumination is quite medicinal.

Buddhists did not riot at the destruction of the large Buddha images destroyed by the Taliban.

But they did riot at a mosque that was alledgely build on a destroyed temple.

Now I might be pissed about that, and im not Buddist.

Kinda like kicking the Boy scouts out of a national forest, because they dont want their kids to be charges of Gay peidophiles.

And then beinging in the Muslims, due to their known Tolerance of Gays I suppose.

Or has everyone forgot about that already.


Gays =/= pedophiles. Marshal's warning here.


My focus was the scouts being kicked out of a national forest area that had been a scout camp for almost 100 years over their refusal to accept others notions of "diversity"....

And turning the camp over to a Muslim group to build summer camp madrassa.

[Marshal "Smokin Joe" Katzman: OK. Doesn't excuse the slur on gays. If it was topical, you could certainly defend the Scouts' policy - but it isn't topical, and that needless slur isn't what we're about here. Please don't do it again. The rest of the screed about the U.S. Forest Service was irrelevant to this debate, and is gone per our comments policy re: relevance]

I think you may be confused, a. I think you are referring to Hindus, who were rioting in India over the attempts to build a mosque on the site of a historic Hindu temple.

I see that the people complaining about claims of abuse did not bother to go to the link I provided in #35. Every story I have seen about Koran abuse and most of the other claims of abuse all came from terror suspects or their lawyers.

Terror suspects, I might add, whom are instructed to claim they were abused if captured.

From the Al-Qaeda Training Manual (link provided above)

Lesson Eighteen

1) At the beginning of the trial once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state Security investigators before the judge.
2) Complain about mistreatment while in prison

Al Qaeda is trying to use our cherished "tolerance" against us, and a number of people, including some on this board are playing right into it.

Aakash #59,

There can be many causes for particular events. A lot of times, we are trying to understand the primary cause for them. In the case of terrorism against the US, it has been going on for at least thirty years. During this span, we have seen the US be pro-Israel and indifferent to Israel. We have seen the US oppose the Palestinians and be for a state for them. We have seen the US appease the terrorists and confront them (at least partially). Terrorism against the US has not perceptibly shifted in response to any of these actions - except perhaps to confrontation. That is why we can conclude, conversely to those who believe that it is America's actions that lead to terrorism against America, that America's actions have little to do with terrorism against her.

This does not mean that no action of America's could have an impact on terrorism, as you imply. For example, if America nuked the entire Middle East, odds are that terrorism would be reduced. (Granted, that is an extreme scenario, but it should illustrate the point.)

In the case of the purported Koranic desecration, those folks rioting claim - plausibly - that the desecration led to their riots. Unless you can find a different plausible root cause for the riots occurring at the same time as the desecration story, it seems reasonable that would be true.

>>For example, if America nuked the entire Middle East, odds are that terrorism would be reduced. (Granted, that is an extreme scenario, but it should illustrate the point.)

Let's think about this: How would the several million Muslim US citizens react to the MidEast being nuked? Wouldn't it be reasonable to conclude that at least 10% (>200,000) would decide that the USG was an organization of surpassing evil that had to be destroyed at all costs? What percentage of those would turn to terrorism (violence against civilians?)

TJ Madison #69,

Perhaps. It could well be that they would be intimidated. It could be that they would blow up many things. Regardless, it was meant as an example to illustrate that the US can impact the actions of others. Either way, this would demonstrate that.


Ariel you say:
"In the case of the purported Koranic desecration, those folks rioting claim - plausibly - that the desecration led to their riots. Unless you can find a different plausible root cause for the riots occurring at the same time as the desecration story, it seems reasonable that would be true."

I've just read an article pointing to a press incident blown up by Sihanouk into an international incident during JFK's presidency.
Fascinating story at this link:

Wow. I'd encourage people to read that one.

You thought THIS incident was a contributor to bad consequences... now add about 5 zeros. Good illustration of the kinds of double games that often go on, too - one wonders how Sihanouk ever manages to sleep at night.

Are you members of al Qaeda? No. Then do you have access to classified version of the manual? If the answer is no to both these questions then you are talking out of your hat.
Everyone keeps referring to the manual when what it says is "Complain {to the court} of mistreatment while in prison."
Text to display
Numbers 1 and 4 also state that a prisoner should insist on proving they were tortured and give the names of his abusers to the judge. The entire context of that page is about how to act in court. Nowhere in the manual does it say 'tell people the Americans threw the koran in the toilet.' Yet you all claim the manual proves all the detainees are lying. You are just making shit up. The released prisoners may very well be lying but they probably weren't in al Qaeda or they would not have been released, therefore they probably didn't ever see the manual and even if they did the manual does not instructed them to make stuff up.
By referring to the manual you are offering no proof. Come on you can do better. Also if these guys were in Al Qaeda (and therefore had seen the manual) why were they released. Maybe because we couldn't prove they were in Al Qaeda? Just because you really want to belief something doesn't make it true.

If assigned to protect your fellows and your citizens, you have to be on the ball when stuff like this comes around, and raise flags re: needless, inflammatory crap without waiting for investigation results because by then, it may be too late. That's why the DoD shares some blame here. They were indirect agents with indirect influence (they could have challenged and had everything happen anyway), but they didn't do all they could here and in the military ethic, that hurts. It ought to. If this behaviour was the result of some stupid bureaucratic policy (which I suspect), kick in as many windows as necessary to change the policy.

No, neither the DoD nor the White House has any responsibility to shoot down the wild rumors and speculation the MSM makes up to sell soap.

It is the MSM's responsibility not to knowingly lie or to ratify the actions of liars in their employ by saying that others should have denied the lies in a more timely manner.


We fervently hope it doesn't grow that big, for sure. Talk about taking things personally ...

Joe Katzman,

For the record, this is what Newsweek said:

Gitmo: SouthCom Showdown

May 9 issue - Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. An Army spokesman confirms that 10 Gitmo interrogators have already been disciplined for mistreating prisoners, including one woman who took off her top, rubbed her finger through a detainee's hair and sat on the detainee's lap. (New details of sexual abuse-including an instance in which a female interrogator allegedly wiped her red-stained hand on a detainee's face, telling him it was her menstrual blood-are also in a new book to be published this week by a former Gitmo translator.)

These findings, expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, could put former Gitmo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller in the hot seat. Two months ago a more senior general, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, was placed in charge of the SouthCom probe, in part, so Miller could be questioned. The FBI e-mails indicate that FBI agents quarreled repeatedly with military commanders, including Miller and his predecessor, retired Gen. Michael Dunleavy, over the military's more aggressive techniques. "Both agreed the bureau has their way of doing business and DOD has their marching orders from the SecDef," one e-mail stated, referring to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Sources familiar with the SouthCom probe say investigators didn't find that Miller authorized abusive treatment. But given the complaints that were being raised, sources say, the report will provoke questions about whether Miller should have known what was happening-and acted to try to prevent it. An Army spokesman declined to comment.

-Michael Isikoff and John Barry
C 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

So what is a DoD or a White House PR guy going to do?

The MSM calls you up, they have their story ready to run, and at the last minute they ask someone to respond.

The DoD or White House press relations guy doesn't want to deny it (or confirm it) if only because he or she honestly don't know and cannot find out in time before the MSM deadline.

The call to the DoD or the White House covers MSM tail in terms of giving the victimized goverment PR guy a chance to respond, but not enough time for the DoD or White House press relations guy to actually get an answer.

The DoD or White House is turned into a set prop for the MSM story providing some "rub off" credibility because they are in the picture of a story made up of wild speculation and hear say. This is Catch 22 set up with evil intent on the part of the Main Stream Media. Buying into any part of "The Government Shoulda Denied it to save us MSM types reputations from ourselves" meme is the same as buying into the "FAKE, BUT ACCURATE " meme the MSM is peddling.

I don't buy it and you shouldn't either.

The crack about menstrual blood alone should have been a tip off that this whole thing was made up by Isikoff using the testimony our our Al-Qaeda enemies.

Dear "Pope Prior the Dark" (#73): Read your last sentence again. Take your own advice.

A forlorn hope, Joe. Joe, our primate above doesn't want to confront the reality that we are currently fighting the cleanest war that the world has probably ever seen in its history. And yet he thinks that a couple of the most trivial of allegations somehow discredits the administration. Surreal in a way that Salvador Dali would not recognize.

A little update??

So all these one and zeros and pontificating spent on this story - and Karzai comes out, echoing Myers initial report, that the Newsweek story had nothing to do with deaths in Afghanistan.

Will you revisit this again, or simply stick to the flea-ridden, dog-eared, smelly, stinky little script of "bias"?

In terms of honest reporting, did you see the story about how upset the parents of Tillman were, about the deliberate dishonesty of the Pentagon in reporting how Tillman died?

Or, AS USUAL AND ALWAYS, the only stories of shallow sourcing, or deliberate deception that incite your ire are the ones that agree with your prejudice?

Why should anyone think you are a straight-shooter arguing your case, instead of more of a lawyer arguing your case?


I might well ask the same of you.

The applicable term here is "common sense" - but I'll understand if you need to look it up.

But, since you do have to look it up, let me turn to Newsweek's own account, How A Fire Broke Out

The spark was apparently lit at a press conference held on Friday, May 6, by Imran Khan, a Pakistani cricket legend and strident critic of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Brandishing a copy of that week’s NEWSWEEK (dated May 9), Khan read a report that U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo prison had placed the Qur’an on toilet seats and even flushed one. “This is what the U.S. is doing,” exclaimed Khan, “desecrating the Qur’an.” His remarks, as well as the outraged comments of Muslim clerics and Pakistani government officials, were picked up on local radio and played throughout neighboring Afghanistan. Radical Islamic foes of the U.S.-friendly regime of Hamid Karzai quickly exploited local discontent with a poor economy and the continued presence of U.S. forces, and riots began breaking out last week.

I'd say that it takes some pretty amazing powers of telepathy to say that the story had nothing to do with the violence, after it was directly used as incitement for same.

Meanwhile see this report from an American living in Jakarta, Indonesia. When will YOU acknowledge that flacking for your media allies when they are caught in malfeasance (and they've admitted to that themselves) that has real consequences isn;t doing wonders for your credibility?

Or does anything go, as long as they continue to give you guys ideological blowjobs and those 15 polling points Evan Thomas referred to?

[NM: Long random OT spammy driveby from a .AU domain, with a URL to what is apparently a personal-loan-related (commercial) site. Deleted. Do it again and you'll be banned.]

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