Monday, May 16

News-weakness on the Quran

News-weakness on the Quran!

The recent story of desecration of the Quran by U.S. intelligence Officers has become quite a hotbed of controversy. The White House has claimed that this story is erroneous and has prompted riots in Afghanistan, causing numerous injuries and at least 15 deaths. Newsweek has retracted the story and apologized, but was the story truly wrong and should they have actually issued a apology?

On his show Countdown, Keither Olberman addressed this subject and points out that there had been previous reports of this type of treament - numerous accounts which you can find on Dailykos, The Philadelphia Enquirer, the Center for Constitutional Rights and a Human Rights Watch report- and that the rioting in Afghanistan had already been taking place as a result of other events in the region according to head of joint chiefs, Gen Meyers. If this is such a highly charged topic, why haven't we seen a similar reaction in other portions of the muslim world?

Republican blogger and pundit Andrew Sullivan has an excellent analysis:
Newsweek bears complete responsibility for any errors it has made; and, depending on what we now find, should not be let off the hook. But the outrage from the White House is beyond belief. It seems to me particularly worrying if this incident further intimidates the press from seeking the truth about what the government is doing in the war on terror. It is not being "basically, on the side of the enemy," as Glenn Reynolds calls it, to resist the notion of government-sanctioned torture and to report on it. It is patriotism and serving the cause that this war is about: religious pluralism and tolerance. The media's Abu Ghraib?? When Mike Isikoff is found guilty of committing murder, give me a call. Austin Bay still insists that Abu Ghraib did not constitute "deadly torture." The corpses found there (photographed by grinning U.S. soldiers) would probably disagree. (Will Bay correct?) Three factors interacted here: media error/bias, Islamist paranoia, and a past and possibly current policy of religiously-intolerant torture. No one comes out looking good. But it seems to me unquestionable that the documented abuse of religion in interrogation practices is by far the biggest scandal. Too bad the blogosphere is too media-obsessed and self-congratulatory to notice.
Others on Democratic Underground - admittedly dancing on the fringes of the tin-foil hat club - have argued (in apparent agreement with Oberman and his guest, Craig Crawford - author of "Attack the Messenger") that the hyper-active reaction to this story, forcing a media outlet to back-pedal and apologize seems to be part of a larger pattern, perhaps to help bury the Downing Street Memo story which may have been something that Newsweek was about the cover.
story breaks when john conyers and 90 dems sign letter to president asking him to answer the contents, then...

(ppl are refering to this as operation 5-11)small plane flies into restricted air-space...capitol alerted, but bush wasn't even told till after "event", hmm...maybe because there was no danger.

next day a questionable story about a grenade being thrown at the president emerges...turns out there was no grenade thrown and no danger...

newsweek becomes a target for a story related to US war crimes @ gitmo...and rumors say newsweek was going to do a story on the downing street memo, if that is true then this a pre-emptive attack against that report...

this is the story, an anonymous high-govt offical repudiated himself on the third round of fact checks...kind of like a planted story?

CBS plans story on missing weapons cache and bush's texas air national guard AWOL status, planted memos cast doubt on dan rather...CBS cancels story on weapons cache...NY times drops story about bush's listening device during the debates...see the pattern?

so now seems that newsweek is being scapgoated for the riots that are going on in afghanistan, even if the bush admin is only questioning one element of the story, not the other dozens of allegations...cast doubt on the messenger, see the pattern...well if that's the case how does scotty mclelland explain this from a govt website 5 days ago that says the riots are not tied to the newsweek story...

so, if in fact gen myers dismissed this story 5 days ago...why are we talking about it now?
Why? Indeed!



Vyan said...

Keith Oberman on Scott McClellan

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 Philadephia 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.


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.

Vyan said...

Afghan Riots Not Tied to Report on Quran Handling, General Says
Army investigating allegations of mishandling at Guantanamo Bay facility

By Jacquelyn S. Porth
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else.

According to initial reports, the situation in Jalalabad began on May 10 with peaceful student protests reacting to a report in Newsweek magazine that U.S. military interrogators questioning Muslim detainees at the Guantanamo detention center “had placed Quran s on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book.” By the following day the protests in the city had turned violent with reports of several individuals killed, dozens wounded, and widespread looting of government, diplomatic and nongovernmental assets.

However, Myers said an after-action report provided by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, commander of the Combined Forces in Afghanistan, indicated that the political violence was not, in fact, connected to the magazine report.

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