Thursday, May 19, 2005

Media: 0-4 This Year...

Beyond Newsweek

By Dick Morris
May 19, 2005

The Newsweek magazine story falsely reporting desecration of the Koran by American military interrogators in Guantanamo, Cuba, where terror suspects are being held, is the fourth major false report printed or aired by a highly respected arm of the Anglo-American journalistic establishment in the past year.

Each of those inaccurate stories has roiled the political waters and threatened to inflict colossal damage on either President Bush or British Prime Minister Tony Blair and on American and British efforts to defeat terrorists and the regime of Saddam Hussein.

It is high time that the American people got the point: The organs of establishment journalism are slanted and biased toward the Left and disregard the standards of fair and accurate reporting, with impunity, when an election is on the line.

The list of false stories is telling:

• In the spring of 2004, the BBC reported that Blair had ordered his intelligence people to “sex up” reports of the Iraqi program to make weapons of mass destruction. For months, Blair was on the defensive because of the report, and the intelligence operative who was the alleged source of the story committed suicide.

It took a parliamentary commission to debunk the story and to force a BBC retraction. The ongoing damage to Blair’s credibility likely helped to account for his marginal showing in the most recent UK election.

• In September 2004, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” television program used forged and phony documents to try to besmirch Bush’s record in the Texas National Guard. It was only the careless error of the forger in printing the suffix “th” above the line that led to the truth.

• In the week before the election, The New York Times, the citadel of journalistic accuracy, ran a front-page story alleging that 370 tons of explosives had disappeared from an Iraqi storage site during the American occupation. The implication was that the carelessness of the Bush administration had put into the hands of the insurgent terrorists the very weapons now being used to kill our troops. But the Pentagon soon established that the weapons either had been removed early in the U.S. occupation or had never been there when our troops arrived. The Times story led John Kerry to change his TV ads and focus his endgame campaign on the allegation.

• And now Newsweek has published an inflammatory story that has led to massive anti-American demonstrations in Afghanistan — the first since the war — protesting the seeming defilement of sacred texts. Sixteen people are dead because Newsweek got the story wrong, and the image of the United States is damaged in the Islamic world. And Newsweek refuses to hold anyone to account for this outrageous error, least of all its own senior management.


Each of those “mistakes” was biased in favor of the left and was committed in the haste of liberal journalists to get some ammunition to discredit Bush and the Iraq war. But when the same reporter who wrote the current story filed the first disclosure of the Monica Lewinsky affair with his editors at Newsweek, the magazine piously refused to run the story.

In fact, in all the years of the Clinton presidency, I cannot recall a single instance of a similarly inaccurate high-profile story attacking the Democratic president.

Each of the scandal allegations ultimately proved to capture the Clintons in some sort of ethical violation. The sole exception that comes to mind is the FBI-file story, but, even there, the journalist reports that the files had been available to the White House staff were accurate.

But when a Republican president is waging a war of which the Left does not approve, a different journalistic standard appears to apply.

The media need to examine their own bias and correct it, lest still more readers and viewers turn away in the face of their obvious manipulation of public opinion.
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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Clinton.

2 comments:

B2 said...

"Newsweek Dissembled, Muslims Dismembered!"

By Ann Coulter
May 19, 2005

When ace reporter Michael Isikoff had the scoop of the decade, a thoroughly sourced story about the president of the United States having an affair with an intern and then pressuring her to lie about it under oath, Newsweek decided not to run the story. Matt Drudge scooped Newsweek, followed by the Washington Post.

When Isikoff had a detailed account of Kathleen Willey's nasty sexual encounter with the president in the Oval Office, backed up with eyewitness and documentary evidence, Newsweek decided not to run it. Again, Matt Drudge got the story.

When Isikoff was the first with detailed reporting on Paula Jones' accusations against a sitting president, Isikoff's then-employer, the Washington Post – which owns Newsweek – decided not to run it. The American Spectator got the story, followed by the Los Angeles Times.

So apparently it's possible for Michael Isikoff to have a story that actually is true, but for his editors not to run it.

Why no pause for reflection when Isikoff had a story about American interrogators at Guantanamo flushing the Quran down the toilet? Why not sit on this story for, say, even half as long as NBC News sat on Lisa Meyers' highly credible account of Bill Clinton raping Juanita Broaddrick?

Newsweek seems to have very different responses to the same reporter's scoops. Who's deciding which of Isikoff's stories to run and which to hold? I note that the ones that Matt Drudge runs have turned out to be more accurate – and interesting! – than the ones Newsweek runs. Maybe Newsweek should start running everything past Matt Drudge.

Somehow Newsweek missed the story a few weeks ago about Saudi Arabia arresting 40 Christians for "trying to spread their poisonous religious beliefs." But give the American media a story about American interrogators defacing the Quran, and journalists are so appalled there's no time for fact-checking – before they dash off to see the latest exhibition of "Piss Christ."

Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas justified Newsweek's decision to run the incendiary anti-U.S. story about the Quran, saying that "similar reports from released detainees" had already run in the foreign press – "and in the Arab news agency al-Jazeera."

Is there an adult on the editorial board of Newsweek? Al-Jazeera also broadcast a TV miniseries last year based on the "Protocols of the Elders Of Zion." (I didn't see it, but I hear James Brolin was great!) Al-Jazeera has run programs on the intriguing question, "Is Zionism worse than Nazism?" (Take a wild guess where the consensus was on this one.) It runs viewer comments about Jews being descended from pigs and apes. How about that for a Newsweek cover story, Evan? You're covered – al-Jazeera has already run similar reports!

Ironically, among the reasons Newsweek gave for killing Isikoff's Lewinsky bombshell was that Evan Thomas was worried someone might get hurt. It seems that Lewinsky could be heard on tape saying that if the story came out, "I'll (expletive) kill myself."

But Newsweek couldn't wait a moment to run a story that predictably ginned up Islamic savages into murderous riots in Afghanistan, leaving hundreds injured and 16 dead. Who could have seen that coming? These are people who stone rape victims to death because the family "honor" has been violated and who fly planes into American skyscrapers because – wait, why did they do that again?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure it's entirely fair to hold Newsweek responsible for inciting violence among people who view ancient Buddhist statues as outrageous provocation – though I was really looking forward to finally agreeing with Islamic loonies about something. (Bumper sticker idea for liberals: News magazines don't kill people, Muslims do.) But then I wouldn't have sat on the story of the decade because of the empty threats of a drama queen gas-bagging with her friend on the telephone between spoonfuls of Haagen-Dazs.

No matter how I look at it, I can't grasp the editorial judgment that kills Isikoff's stories about a sitting president molesting the help and obstructing justice, while running Isikoff's not particularly newsworthy (or well-sourced) story about Americans desecrating a Quran at Guantanamo.

Even if it were true, why not sit on it? There are a lot of reasons the media withhold even true facts from readers. These include:



A drama queen nitwit exclaimed she'd kill herself. (Evan Thomas' reason for holding the Lewinsky story.)

The need for "more independent reporting." (Newsweek President Richard Smith explaining why Newsweek sat on the Lewinsky story even though the magazine had Lewinsky on tape describing the affair.)

"We were in Havana." (ABC president David Westin explaining why "Nightline" held the Lewinsky story.)

Unavailable for comment. (Michael Oreskes, New York Times Washington bureau chief, in response to why, the day the Washington Post ran the Lewinsky story, the Times ran a staged photo of Clinton meeting with the Israeli president on its front page.)

Protecting the privacy of an alleged rape victim even when the accusation turns out to be false.

Protecting an accused rapist even when the accusation turns out to be true if the perp is a Democratic president most journalists voted for.

Protecting a reporter's source.

How about the media adding to the list of reasons not to run a news item: "Protecting the national interest"? If journalists don't like the ring of that, how about this one: "Protecting ourselves before the American people rise up and lynch us for our relentless anti-American stories."


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Ann Coulter is a bestselling author and syndicated columnist. Her most recent book is How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must).

B2 said...

http://www.thisislondon.com/news/articles/18759971?source=PA&ct=5

Flames of hate

By Luke David, Evening Standard
20 May 2005

Muslim protesters today called for the bombing of New York in a demonstration outside the US embassy in London.

There were threats of "another 9/11" from militants angry at reports of the desecration of the Koran by US troops in Iraq.

Some among the crowd burned an effigy of Tony Blair on a crucifix and then set fire to a Union flag and a Stars and Stripes.

Led by a man on a megaphone, they chanted, "USA watch your back, Osama is coming back" and "Kill, kill USA, kill, kill George Bush". A small detail of police watched as they shouted: "Bomb, bomb New York" and "George Bush, you will pay, with your blood, with your head."

Demonstrators in Grosvenor Square, some with their faces covered with scarves, waved placards which included the message: "Desecrate today and see another 9/11 tomorrow."

The protest was organised by groups including the Muslim Council for Britain and the Muslim Parliamentary Association of the UK. Their protest follows fury in the Islamic world over the claims in a Newsweek magazine that US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay had abused the Koran.

The magazine later withdrew the article and apologised but not before it triggered riots in Afghanistan in which 17 people died and 100 people were injured.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Martin Mubanga told the crowd he had seen a copy of the Koran "desecrated" during his time at Camp Delta.

He said: "This was one of the methods they used, throwing the Koran, my Koran, on the floor in my cell."

One of the protesters called for the release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza. He shouted: "Your so-called democracy will fall under the sword of Allah. The day of judgment is coming."

The demonstration coincided with protests across the world. On the West Bank 2,500 Palestinians streamed out of mosques shouting "Death to America". In Calcutta, India, protesters burned, spat and urinated on the US flag. And in Somalia thousands chanted anti-US slogans.