Or So You Thought...
This past weekend, Davids Medienkritik brought you a report on SPIEGEL ONLINE's latest reporting debacle. On April 28, the magazine featured an article on its homepage entitled, "Late Insight: Even USA Now Sees Iraq as Terror Incubator." The article (twice) claimed that the recently released Country Reports on Terrorism, an annual report issued by the U.S. State Department, had labeled Iraq a terrorist "safe haven." In fact, the report did no such thing:
Below is how the SPIEGEL ONLINE article in question looked for four days (the first and sixth paragraphs are shown):
BEFORE Davids Medienkritik:
"The war against terror was one of the US government's arguments for the march into Iraq. Three years later it has been shown that the goal has been totally missed: The State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism calls the country a "safe haven" for extremists." (...)
"The report calls Iraq a "safe haven" for terrorists. In the country there is a quasi "pipeline" for extremists in the entire world. Iraq is therefore the most important location in the fight against worldwide terrorism."
And here is how the report looks now:
AFTER Davids Medienkritik:
The "corrections" are a tiny sign of progress. But major problems still remain: Now that the magazine has admitted it was wrong, what point is there to keeping the article to begin with? The entire premise has been torn to bits. The US government authorities cited by SPIEGEL ONLINE clearly do NOT view Iraq as an "incubator for terror." Wouldn't it make more sense to remove the article entirely?
The Journalistic Quagmire Continues: Article Still Wrong Despite "Corrections"...
Unfortunately, SPIEGEL ONLINE's "corrections" are still not correct. The first paragraph now claims that the State Department report says that the war against terror in Iraq was an objective of the occupation that has been totally missed. In fact, the report says no such thing. Additionally, the article now claims that the State Department report states that Iraq "could develop into a safe haven." In fact, the report clearly states that terrorists and extremists "view Iraq as a potential safe haven and are attempting to make it a reality."
But hey, when you are dealing with chronically biased German media, any admission of guilt is a sign of hope. "Späte Einsicht" as they say. Better late than never for SPIEGEL ONLINE. Let's hope they finally get it right some day...
Endnote: A popular German-language blog, BildBlog, is actually sending BILD newspaper a bill for the corrections they have helped the paper make. They are charging something like 40 EUROS per correction. SPIEGEL ONLINE can expect something very special in the mail from DMK in the very near future... (Article by Ray D.)