Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek did it

Okay, if you haven't heard, Newsweek said that some soldiers in Guantanamo Bay fucked up the Quaran while trying to interrorgate prisoners. Then violence broke out in some parts of the middle east and some clerics said that they would order a holy war vs the US. Then Newsweek retracted the story, saying how their source retracted his statement and they are sorry for anyone being killed or injured in the furor. Then Scott McClellan blasts Newsweek for being irresposnsible for relying on an anonymous source and causing all this shit.

"A retraction is a good first step," McClellan said after Newsweek issued its statement. "This allegation was unsubstantiated and it was contrary to everything that we value and all that our military works to uphold. We encourage Newsweek to now work diligently to help undo what damage can be undone."

"People lost their lives. the image of the United States abroad has been damaged. It will take work to undo what can be undone," McClellan said.

People with a sense of irony are going nuts. Wait, the White House is blasting someone for running with an anonymous source? Durr... Ever hear of Curveball? The anonymous source who said Iraq had WMDs? Newsweek may have made a mistake (to me, a sudden retraction in the face of violence kinda seems like a retraction so we don't into a large fight), but for the White House to be calling them out takes some real balls.

Keith Olberman explains:

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.

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.
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.
Also, Olberman points out that:
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.

and finally
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.

I couldn't say it any better.

[Update] Should Newsweek had published the report? Maybe. If they really had a solid source, but he backed off after the aftermath... I don't know. They weren't reporting anything new, this was two years ago. The clerics should take responsiblity for this also, just because some jerkoff might have put a Quaran in a toilet doesn't mean you start a holy war. There were other reports (NY Times) that prisoners complained of people messing with the Quaran, so the people in Guantanamo Bay have some resposiblity also. I'm not trying to excuse what Newsweek did, but for the White House to be lecturing on responsibility.... ugh....

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