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This post has almost no connection to any sort of German Medienkritik, this post belongs on powerline, not David's Medienkritik. Why are you grinding this irrelevant axe here?

Is this blog supposed to be parroting conservative talking points?

As Jonah Goldberg Writes,

"They vetted the piece before it went to press and the Administration source(s) they showed it to didn't object to the Koran aspect. There have been numerous reports in other news outlets from freed detainees claiming they witnessed such acts."
and more

"it's hardly as if defenders of the U.S. government's actions can be absolute purists either. The allegations about torture and whatnot reveal that it is not exactly uncommon for interrogators to use the religiosity of their prisoners against them. Flushing a Koran down a toilet -- and telling the press about it -- would certainly constitute a huge blunder. But how many of us were saying "there's no way that can be true!" when the story first broke?"

David's Medienkritik is talking out of it's scope and taking aharder conservative line than NR, that's a pity.

@ frank:

Since when do you or anyone else determine the scope of our blog or what we cover?

And posting on this is grinding an irrelevant axe? Gee, I wonder how irrelevant it is to the scores of people who died or were injured in the Afghanistan riots frank...? Wow, talk about blind arrogance...

By the way, did you even read the post? I would hardly call the BBC, CNN and Stern, the sites we linked to on this story, as parroters of the conservative line. Maybe you are simply in denial about this media debacle and wish it never happened or that it would just go away. I feel sorry for you. People like you, whose default position it is to blame the US and assume the US is always wrong, are the major reason blogs like ours are so successful.

So thanks but no-thanks for the advice frank.

---Ray D.

I won't agree with Frank's tone, but I come to Davids Medienkritik for information on German media. The major German dailies are covering the Newsweek story intensly and are putting their usual spin on the affair. You'll be providing us all a valuable service by shedding a bit of light on what Germans are being taught to think about the Koran-flushing story.

Anyway, it's your prerogative to post whatever you want here; I just hope that this blog doesn't drift too far away from its original mission.

It seems both US and German media need to take a look at this here and put it into practice.

Ray it will be very interesting to see how the German media covers this. It is an important story and it does and has been impacting German US relations.

This is David and Ray's Web Log. They can do as they please with it. Carping about your dislike of what they are doing and how they are doing it is needless noise. Please refrain from it.

>>
But how many of us were saying "there's no way that can be true!" when the story first broke?"

Lots of us actually. It ruins the plumbing and if GIs know anything they know not to mess with gov't property. The story was nonsensical on its face specifically for this reason.

>>David's Medienkritik is talking out of it's scope

Ha! Must be that German penchant for order and everyone knowing their place. Piss off frank. Welcome to free enterprise.

Now. For those of you in Germany I can tell you there is a veritable shitstorm here in the U.S. about this. Personally, I would not be surprised if the retraction was prompted by subscribtion cancellations. I read people doing that on the blogs and in the checkout lines at the grocery store. People, whatever their political views, are outraged. Defending Newsweek right now is about as popular as trying to argue for the rehabilitation of child molesters. Seriously. I cannot find one instance where political leaning influences opinion on this. People across the political spectrum are furious.

Wish I could agree with the Sock Puppet of Doom that "people, whatever their political views, are outraged" at Newsweek's sloppy journalism and the harm it has done. From my own observation post deep within "blue" America I must report that the only effect has been to inflame passions without changing opinions. Denial and rationalization are the order of the day. From talk show hosts to C-SPAN callers to personal friends the cry is "Of course it's true! The administration pressured Newsweek to retract the story. Freedom of expression is in danger". America is far too deeply divided to minds to be changed by an incident of biased and lethally bad reporting.

David,
Hi, I'm in 'blue' Northern Virginia and I must say your comment
----------------
Denial and rationalization are the order of the day.
-----------
is true for the 'true believers'. But I did a quick survey yesterday - I held myself to 50 people - an NO ONE defended this. Talked to people in the grocery store, gas station, vets office, Wal-Mart, etc. Yeah, you can go to Kos Kids and DUmmies, but my 'people on the street' survey revealed nothing but disgust.

Hi, Germans! Think the U.S. is homogenous? heh.

@ Anton V:

Fair enough. But not all German dailies are covering the story and those that are seem to have a predictable reaction, reporting the facts, circling the wagons and then rehashing complaints about Guantanamo. We've all heard the complaints before and we've gone over that many times on this blog...If anything really stunning or new is written, we will certainly cover it. But I also don't want to bore readers with the same old set of German gripes on Guantanamo over and over again.

Additionally, my post does clearly ask what people who think the US media is in lockstep with the Bush administration will think about all this...I thought it was an interesting and worthwhile question.

Anyway, thanks for the input.

@ Ray

>Since when do you or anyone else determine the scope of our blog or what we cover?

It's never up to me or anyone but you and David, sure, but when you readers come to this blog, they expect something, if you started blogging about your goldfish I'd complain. Not that I don't like your goldfish. If you're changing the scope of your blog, ie adding some conservative views on american media, then maybe you should tell your readers. The post has no new links/stories about germany (aside from the stern link) which was what I thought was the focus of this blog. If I'm wrong then what is the focus of this blog?

>Wow, talk about blind arrogance...
>I feel sorry for you.

You're obviously pissed, and for that I apologize. Still I think my point holds and I'd be happy to debate it. I simply think that this post represents a departure for this blog.

>I would hardly call the BBC, CNN and Stern, the sites we linked to on this story, as parroters of the conservative line.

And they don't. I claim your post does, just because your post links to them doesn't mean that your post doesn't parrot conservative talking points.

>People like you, whose default position it is to blame the US and assume the US is always wrong, are the major reason blogs like ours are so successful.

Me and, uhhh, Jonah Goldberg? And how is what I say blaming the US? Is the same true of Jonah Goldberg of National Review, whose position I quote?

Again you're obviously angry, why? When I said you're out of your scope what I intentionally did not say was you were talking out of your depth, I said you were talking out of the scope of this blog, a claim you haven't addressed. I'd like to debate this but only civily.
Cheers

@ Pamela,

>>But how many of us were saying "there's no way that can be true!" when the story first broke?"

>Lots of us actually. It ruins the plumbing and if GIs know anything they know not to mess with gov't property. The story was nonsensical on its face specifically for this reason.

Okay, can you show me a reputable conservative mag or blog that disputed it last week?

>>David's Medienkritik is talking out of it's scope

>Ha! Must be that German penchant for order and everyone knowing their place. Piss off frank. Welcome to free enterprise.

Actually I'm american, live in DC.

> For those of you in Germany I can tell you there is a veritable shitstorm here in the U.S. about this.

As wewll there should be, but blaimg newsweek for the rioting (on the right) is as silly as blaming the US government (on the left). I agree with Balloon Juice, a conservative blog, here:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/archives/005137.html

This is plainly not a case of malisiously fabricated anti bush propaganda and, though it is a debacle, it's just not what you're claimng it is.

@ frank:

You got me buddy. Yeah, I'm really pissed and angry. Thanks for your apology and offer to debate civilly with me, that was really big of you. You know what though...I just wonder how pissed and angry the people who lost family members in Afghanistan because of this Newsweek flop are right now...I wonder how pissed off the US soldiers are who had to put their necks on the line to deal with the riots are?

OK, now to clarify (again): I do mention Germany and the German media in the post. Did you miss that? Paragraph 3.

Secondly: We occasionally do have stories not about the German media. Every journalistic publication I know of sometimes deviates from its immediate focus. It would be boring if we ONLY talked about the German media ALL the time. So we don't and that is perfectly alright. If you really can't stand it, you are welcome to leave or just ignore the particular posts that don't interest you.

By the way, speaking of goldfish: Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, probably the most successful blogger in the world, regularly does posts with photos about his pets, family, travels and college campus that have absolutely nothing to do with politics or opinion and he doesn't have a comments section for people to publicly complain. I've seen Andrew Sullivan do similar posts about movies and entertainment. Again, if you look at this blog, the vast majority of posts are on the German media. So the charge that we are somehow getting away from our focus is a hollow one. I think only someone who is going out of their way to find fault with us at every opportunity could make such a claim.

Now, to your other major claim that I am "parroting the conservative line". Where do I do that exactly in this post? Let's debate it. Again, this post links to the BBC, Stern and CNN who all report the story in a similar way: Newsweek retracted its story. The story is unfounded and led to tragedy. Newsweek's reputation has taken a hit. That is not towing the conservative line. That is reporting the facts as they are.

Again, if you are in denial about the facts because you assume the US is always wrong or at fault, I think that is an issue that you and many others need to deal with. Until that attitude changes, blogs like this will continue to grow.

@ frank

"Okay, can you show me a reputable conservative mag or blog that disputed it last week?

Oh, ok. So instead of blaming Newsweek for an admitted mistake, we ought to be blaming bloggers and the media for not noticing it sooner or objecting to it sooner? What kind of logic is that?

Newsweek is to blame because it lent it's reputation to an unsubstantiated claim by printing this item before they knew it to be reliably true. The Muslim fanatics who exploited the story could point to Newsweek as evidence that US soldiers were desecrating the Koran and this clearly gave them a greater degree of legitimacy. This wasn't just another of the dime-a-dozen, anti-US conspiracy theories that are so popular in the Middle East. This was a story running in a major US publication and therefore more believable. Certainly, the people who exploited this to start a riot are also to blame, but Newsweek provided them with the gasoline that they needed to get the fire started. If Newsweek had not run the item, this would never have happened and over a dozen people would still be alive today.

@ Pamela:

"I read people doing that on the blogs and in the checkout lines at the grocery store"

It hurts to see the English language tortured in this manner.

This has been a very interesting story for a few reasons -

Did Newsweek rush to print an unsunstantiated one source account as a multiple sourced and officially documented instance - clearly YES

Were conservatives saying "I don't believe it" - NO

Should they have been? Why? What if it was true - and after AG - it sure could have been

But the wider questions seem to me to be -

Does Newsweek and other western media have some responsibility to avoid shouting "fire" in the Muslim theater

This is the story since the Sepoy Mutiny of the 1850's when a rumor spread that the bullets issued to British Indian ( muslim ) troops were coated with pig grease

thousands died

Now its not a rumor - its reported in the news

I don't know - Its odd to think that we must censor such news because muslims are so prone to riot and violence at the very idea of some desecration of anything Holy ( except when its the "insurgents" of Iraq blowing up Mosques with countless Korans inside ) that maybe we need to avoid such stories

On the other hand isn't it a great time to tell our muslim friends that they simply cannot go on over-reacting in such a way

@ Ray

I can only assume your reply --"that was really big of you."-- was sarcastic. My apology wasn't.

Your post was about the newsweek story and not a follow up to the gliechgeschaltet post. That reference was tangental. In fact the gleichgeschaltet reference is evedence of your parroting the conservative line that this is, as you claim in the gleichceschaltet post that "the very opposite" of "brainwash[ing] the American people with pro-government 'propaganda'", (ie that the media is brainwashing the american people with anti govenment propaganda), moderate conservatives don't even think this (see Goldberg and Balloon Juice). Further the post clearly implies that the cause of the riots was the article exclusivly, something the White House also implies but, again, a claim that is disputed by moderates.

As far as the posting of pets goes, how is it relevent that other blogs post pictures of their pets? When I hear about Andrew's sleep aepnea it's common, if you mentioned yours I'd be suprised. Is that wierd?

Next, on to your reponse to my Pamela Post

Me quoting Goldberg: But how many of us were saying "there's no way that can be true!" when the story first broke?

Pamela: Lots of us actually.

Me: Okay, can you show me a reputable conservative mag or blog that disputed it last week?

Ray: So instead of blaming Newsweek for an admitted mistake, we ought to be blaming bloggers and the media for not noticing it sooner or objecting to it sooner?

Jonah isn't blaimg them, he's simply pointing out that the story was plausible and consistent with things we've been hearout, that have been true, out of Gitmo. He's not blaming conservatives, he is one.

You also fail to back up this slur:
"if you are in denial about the facts because you assume the US is always wrong or at fault"

huh? did you read the balloon juice post? or the Goldberg quotes? I guess the US govenment is tangentally responsible, but ingeneral, when people are murdered, I blame the murderer. How on earth can you claim, twice even, that I "always blame the US?" where on earth is this coming from?

Maybe I'll get more than sarcastic snipes as a response if I clarify the other side -- why am I mad?

Because, as a media critic, one ought to go for objectivity in so far as it's possible, or at least centrism. I agree that the MSM has a liberal bias. I'm sure Pat Buchanan has lots of criticism of the MSM, but he's off the charts so I'm alot less likely to read anything he writes on the subject, just like I don't read any of the tripe over at the nation. When you so casually mix personal politics with your criticisms I hesitate to take your criticisms as on the face true. Still, it is your blog, so if you want I can just piss off if you like.

Anyway, your go.


"Your post was about the newsweek story and not a follow up to the gliechgeschaltet post. That reference was tangental. In fact the gleichgeschaltet reference is evedence of your parroting the conservative line"

So are you denying that many in Germany and in the German media believe the US media is favorable towards the Bush administration? Unfortunately, many people in Germany do believe just that. Here again, we are reporting on facts, not "parroting" a certain political position as you claim.

"Further the post clearly implies that the cause of the riots was the article exclusivly, something the White House also implies but, again, a claim that is disputed by moderates."

No, it doesn't. Here is what I wrote:

"Newsweek's recent retraction of a story that claimed US troops flushed copies of the Koran down a toilet once again demonstrates an important reality: The media play a major role in shaping international perceptions of the United States and, in turn, those perceptions have a direct and real impact on how people react to the United States."

Here again, I am stating fact. What the media reports has an impact on how the international community views and reacts towards the US. This situation is a good example of that. I never state that the Newsweek article was "exclusively" responsible for the riots. I do think, however, that this report provided the fuel necessary to fire the riots on. In other words, I don't think the riots would have occured without the story.

"as you claim in the gleichceschaltet post that "the very opposite" of "brainwash[ing] the American people with pro-government 'propaganda'", (ie that the media is brainwashing the american people with anti govenment propaganda)"

I never wrote that the US media is "brainwashing" the American people with anti-government propaganda. If you want to read what I actually wrote, here is the article for everyone to read. And this is what I actually said:

"After reading "Press Policy of the Bush Government: Bite-Sized Propaganda Films", most readers are left with the impression that the Bush government is deviously attempting to manipulate and dominate the US media in order to brainwash the American people with pro-government "propaganda."

But, as always, a vitally important piece of information about the American media has been repeatedly kept from the German public by the German media. Why? Because this vitally important piece of information is at least as applicable and damning to the German media's credibility as it is to the American media's.

Endemic Leftwards Bias

Many Germans have picked-up the erroneous impression from the German press that the American media is dominated by conservatives in Fox News, talk radio, the blogosphere and the Bush administration. This impression has been largely created by journalists at publications like SPIEGEL ONLINE who feel deeply threatened by conservative, free market ideals and whose intent it is to convince the German public that the American media is dominated (i.e. gleichgeschaltet) by a sinister cabal of scheming neo-conservatives pulling the US media's strings in the background and secretly plotting to control the minds of America.

But the evidence collected over several decades tells an entirely different story that the German media has ignored time and time again: Surveys and studies of American journalists conducted over a period of more than thirty years have repeatedly and consistently revealed a long-standing, widespread and overwhelming bias in favor of Democrats and liberal ideals and against Republicans and conservative ideals."

"Jonah isn't blaimg them, he's simply pointing out that the story was plausible and consistent with things we've been hearout, that have been true, out of Gitmo. He's not blaming conservatives, he is one."

So it would be OK if I did a posting on a rumored Bill Clinton affair because it is plausible and consistent with things we've been hearing...even if Clinton never actually had the affair? So now we can make facts up and assume things without checking them because they are consistent with a certain pattern??? Is that your idea of objectivity? Sorry, but that is shoddy journalism and leads down a dark road. This sounds a lot like more of the "fake but accurate" line of thinking to me...

"Because, as a media critic, one ought to go for objectivity in so far as it's possible, or at least centrism."

We don't aim for a political position on this website whether it is "left", "right" or "centrist" because those labels are always changing with the times. Unfortunately, 70 years ago, Nazism represented a "mainstream" view to many Germans. So excuse us if we don't aim to please a certain political faction or "norm". We aim for what is true. Period.

I agree that we should blame the Muslim instigators first. But, again, the Newsweek story lent legitimacy to their anti-American hatreds and clearly fueled the anger that led to the deaths. Again, had Newsweek not run this unsubstantiated story, this would have never happened. And to that extent, they clearly bear some responsibility for the deaths and injuries in Afghanistan.

Finally, like everyone else, you are welcome to read whatever you want on our site. If an occasional article on something other than the German media upsets you, I suggest you simply don't read it.

Below is a link for a blog where the topic of Newsweek’s article is being discussed. It is very much a give and take. Many of those posting are making good points.

http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/


What many will find striking are the differences of opinion being presented. I think this represents the diversity in America. This is something which at times seems to be missing in other nations.

Ray,

You quoted me saying:
"Your post was about the newsweek story and not a follow up to the gliechgeschaltet post. That reference was tangental. In fact the gleichgeschaltet reference is evedence of your parroting the conservative line"

Notice that I said the gleichgeschaltet reference and not the post itself. The reference implies that you think this is a case of liberal bias in the news media, most certainly an opinion, not a fact. And of course I agree that many in Germany think the US media is part of the Bush machine. As far as me quoting you:

You said, first

"After reading "Press Policy of the Bush Government: Bite-Sized Propaganda Films", most readers are left with the impression that the Bush government is deviously attempting to manipulate and dominate the US media in order to brainwash the American people with pro-government 'propaganda.'"

and later

"The facts have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that the very opposite is true."

To be honest, they're separated by tables and stats and whatnot, and, not being terribly familiar with ettiquette as I am, if you think that's unfair, I'll retract.

As far as your implication that Newsweek exclusively perhaps I should have said directly, as you say such stories have "very deadly real consequences" when it is actually Islamic Militarism that has these consequences.

In law there are two tests for causality, that people would have died from this story was not a reasonably forseeable consequence.

As far as the Goldberg quote, I assume he is simply pointing out that this type of thing is rather commonplace at gitmo, Newsweek had a source confirming this, ran it by the white house and no one objected, they ran it and the source backed down. Is this bad journalism? Definitly. Is this Anti-American? Definitely Not.
Is this fabricated? Also no.

That your stating facts exclusively is untrue, thank god. If you think the blog would be boring without changing the focus, try just stating facts.

Newsweek does bear some respoonsibility for the deaths as does the administration as does the coporation that publishes Newsweek, but lets call a spade a spade. The author of that story is guilty of shoddy journalism, the rioters in Afganistan are guilty of murder.

@ Pogue

"""I don't know - Its odd to think that we must censor such news because muslims are so prone to riot and violence at the very idea of some desecration of anything Holy ( except when its the "insurgents" of Iraq blowing up Mosques with countless Korans inside ) that maybe we need to avoid such stories"""

If it's reasonably possible that people will be in danger, as is the case with Newsweek, when such stories are released, then I say that censorship is in order even if the story is well substantiated.

"If you think the blog would be boring without changing the focus, try just stating facts."

Who is changing the focus of the blog? One article does not change a blog's focus. That has been the point all along. I still think you are off base there.

Secondly, I've never said we are the source of some "exclusive" truth. I said we aim for what is true. As for something here being untrue. What is untrue?

"The reference implies that you think this is a case of liberal bias in the news media, most certainly an opinion, not a fact."

Well, you agree above that there is a liberal bias in the MSM. And when I stated my conclusion that there is such a bias in my article, I backed it up with extensive factual evidence.

"As far as your implication that Newsweek exclusively perhaps I should have said directly, as you say such stories have "very deadly real consequences" when it is actually Islamic Militarism that has these consequences.

In law there are two tests for causality, that people would have died from this story was not a reasonably forseeable consequence."

The Newsweek article did have deadly consequences. The fact is: This item added fuel to the fire of America hatred overseas and directly exacerbated and contributed to riots that left over a dozen people dead. I agree that Muslim fanaticism is the root problem and the fanatics who exploited the unsubstantiated report are first and foremost responsible for the deaths.

However, the Newsweek story was like ammunition laying around waiting to be fired-off by these fanatics. It gave them a degree of legitimacy that they wouldn't have had otherwise and gave them a momentum they would never have had otherwise. To that extent, the Newsweek story was a fundamental part of the problem and Newsweek bears a degree of responsibility for what happened. That does not mean Newsweek's editors or authors should be charged with murder. But to restate what I said in my post: Let's hope that this episode leads some journalists to think twice about running unconfirmed stories that might have very deadly real consequences in the future.

Frank, based on what you have written, I honestly think you are trying to downplay this major failure on the part of Newsweek because you have a certain political axe to grind yourself. I believe that we must hold journalists reponsible for what they write and be fully aware of the very real and sometimes deadly consequences that can and will result from running unsubstantiated stories. That is why I said what I said.

Hey Ray, glad to see you standing up, but don't get yourself in too much of a tizzy over frank. In the Southern U.S., we have a saying about the three reasons that one shouldn't wrestle with pigs:

1. You can't win.
2. You'll wind up covered in mud.
3. The pig enjoys it.

Perhaps we need to re-evaluate what Freedom of the Press means when it comes to reporting about things Islamic

It would seem that this Koran-gate business has resulted in widespread riots and violence as people took to the street in Afghanistan and Pakistan to protest this example of denigrating Islam

Of course, there have been no reports of riots against say the head-choppers of Iraq acting in the name of Allah, or OBL, or countless other crimes doen in the name of Allah - and surely such acts are the real desecration of Islam

Or are they....

>What is untrue?

As I said "your stating facts exclusively is untrue."

>>"The reference implies that you think this is a case of liberal bias in the news media, most certainly an opinion, not a fact."

>Well, you agree above that there is a liberal bias in the MSM. And when I stated my conclusion that there is such a bias in my article, I backed it up with extensive factual evidence

True. But that hardly proves that this is an example of that.

I don't think that murderers ever have any degree of legitimacy. They murdered innocent people. period. end of story. That they used Newsweek as an excuse means nothing. I don't think they should be criticized for that.

Why isn't there any outrage at the murderers in the blogosphere at all commensurate with the outrage directed towards newsweek?

You do seem to at least admit that this is an opinion post which means it must contain your political perspective. I take your answer is 'deal with it' and that's perfectly appropriate.

Anyway, I am a big fan of this blog and that's why I criticize it, I'm not some random flamer who comes only to criticize (just look at my past comments). There is very little left in this argument that's interesting, so I'll bow out after, of course, your response. Besides, I don't enjoy being compared to a pig.

Still, I have to admit, I do relish a good debate, so I gib zu on point 3) Cousin Dave, and thanks for the debate Ray.

Here's what some other folks are saying about the Newsweek deal (from http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-05-12-voa74.cfm):

"The U.S. Defense Department says . . . demonstrations in Afghanistan . . . that . . . have been widely attributed to anger over the alleged incident, were in fact not related to it."

"The top U.S. military officer, General Richard Myers, says . . . 'They . . . can not confirm yet that there was ever the case of the toilet, except for one case . . . where a detainee was reported . . . to be ripping pages out of a Koran and putting them in the toilet . . . as a protest, but not where the U.S. did it.'"

According to General Myers, "It is the judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eichenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran, but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his cabinet are conducting in Afghanistan. He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.'"

Hmmmm. Obviously no one is excusing Newsweek's blunder, and it's interesting that an inmate my have actually done the deed. But I think I'll go with Generals Myers and Eichenberry and avoid the hand-wringing hyperbole.

Cheers,

Frank asked - "Why isn't there any outrage at the murderers in the blogosphere at all commensurate with the outrage directed towards newsweek?"

A pretty good question - one I have asked before in another circumstance - ie:

"Why isn't there any outrage at the Iraqi "insurgent headcutters in the MSM at all commensurate with the outrage directed towards the US over Abu Ghraib?"

One supposes that this is how muslims behave and we can no longer be shocked

Dozens of muslims killed in riots in Whogivesafuckistan - yawn

US implicated in a Koran flushing - STOP THE PRESSES!

Somebody asked about german reporting on this story. I've seen some of it on TV (ARD, ZDF RTL & Co), and the tenor goes something like:
"Newsweek pulls back allegations of Koran desecration in Guantanamo Bay after riots break out worldwide over the story. The White House refused to comment on Newsweek's article."

There is hardly any commenting on it. The facts are being reported. But if you notice carefully, to somebody in Germany who hasn't heard about the story otherwise, it seems as though the riots (and killings) are the reason for Newsweek pulling back its original reporting of abuses at Gitmo, and the White House is somehow involved in the process.

@ James W

If it's reasonably possible that people will be in danger, as is the case with Newsweek, when such stories are released, then I say that censorship is in order even if the story is well substantiated.

Are you serious? So, if there turned out to be another Abu Ghraib, or the Newsweek story turned out to be true, it should be censored anyway.

And I agree with a point made above. Unfortunately, it seems the German Media has given you very little to go on in this case. It seems they are just reporting the facts, and opinions are being thrown around on this site and many others.

Also, are we now saying that not knowing is the same as lying? Are we then now willing to accept that Bush LIED about WMDs, and not that he did not know enough? From Newsweek's point of view, the story was true, and the only thing one can then be against is that Newsweek printed a story that turns public opinion against America, Bush, and the military. I'm sure that you are not saying that the Press should not print articles that cast the government or the military in a bad light.

@ jaba

""Are you serious? So, if there turned out to be another Abu Ghraib, or the Newsweek story turned out to be true, it should be censored anyway.""

Yes, I'm serious -- unless, we can get the media throughout the entire world to report, with EQUAL weight, crimes against innocent people that the 'insurgents' (terrorists) are carrying out--for example: beheadings, suicide bombings, mass executions, etc.... It seems the NYT has no problem with reporting on Abu Ghraib 70+ times, while underplaying real atrocities from the terrorists. Is this not already a form of censorship?

The terrorists best weapon in this war, is our own media! In my opinion, a journalist must weigh the importance of a story against the possible fallout, then make a decision of whether or not to go with it. In the case of the Quran flushing story, I think the dangers were foreseeable and the evidence was weak. As a journalist, I must weigh 'Quran flushing' against 'rioting, injury, and death'.

Furthermore, because of the large amount of overly negative media during this war, I cannot help but to think that the MSM has an agenda. Newsweek is, by far, not the first to add fuel to the fire. That is the conclusion the last 5 years of intensive reading and listening have brought me to. Therefore, I think some level of control is in order, ESPECIALLY in a time of war. Sorry, but that's the way I see it. There are times that we must temporarily compromise our freedoms.

Does the German media report that Americans decline to riot when other cultures burn the American flag? Just wondering.
Does the German media point out the irony that illiterates with no indoor plumbing murder and pillage as a result of being told a story that was both false and, in reality, not physically possible? Do they criticize that culture as they might another? Just wondering.

""Yes, I'm serious -- unless, we can get the media throughout the entire world to report, with EQUAL weight...""

Instead of equal weight, I should have said "with the weight a story deserves..."

""Also, are we now saying that not knowing is the same as lying?""

Who suggested that? Are you now trying to put an unsubstantiated story from Newsweek on the same plain as the wellsubstantiated criminal history of Saddam Hussein? And no, I'm not going to get into a debate about the reasons for the Iraq war. If you don't believe it was a just war yet, then you never will.

@ James W

"Who suggested that? Are you now trying to put an unsubstantiated story from Newsweek on the same plain as the wellsubstantiated criminal history of Saddam Hussein?"

I am not talking about the morality of the war. I am simply saying that even in this case, where everyone thought Saddam DID have WMD's, they all turned out to be wrong. This does not mean they were lying, does it? And if you are willing to point fingers at Newsweek for being wrong (not lying), then people could also object about there being no WMDs. Again, this is not a discussion about the war itself.

Again, if Newsweek was NOT lying, would you have approved of them publishing this story. I think not. Perhaps you know of the Court decision where it was decided it is NOT up to the press to provide both sides of the story. As much as you object, this decision will not be changed, and perhaps the problem is that the administration just keeps providing so much raw material for the press.

@Ray D

"So it would be OK if I did a posting on a rumored Bill Clinton affair because it is plausible and consistent with things we've been hearing...even if Clinton never actually had the affair?"

You are suggesting a story being fabricated, intentionally. For Newsweek, the story WAS true. Again, would you call the WMD case "shoddy bureacracy?"

Why would the Clinton story be intentional? Couldn't a Newsweek reporter get a call from someone in Arkansas who says they had an affiar with Clinton - and then go to press with the story - but instead of saying "on anonymous source said" write "sources confirmed that official reports say"

Wouldn't it be irresponsible to report the second way - misleading and damaging?

All the more so when related to more sensitive issues eh

First, since when is it news that Newsweek is a shoddy, sensationalist publication?

Second, these murderers in Afghanistan were just itching for an excuse to kill Westerners and their supporters. The Newsweek story was as much the "cause" of the rioting as the attacks on the USS Maddox were the "cause" of the Vietnam War. Something like this was inevitable. I'm sure the next Rumsfeld press conference would have been just as likely to have set them off.

Third, liberal schiberal: Michael Isikoff was one of the individuals most responsible for Bill Clinton's impeachment. He's neither a fabulist nor inordinately leftist. He and his editors just made a bad call that blew up in their faces, an outcome more due to sensationalism (see Point #1 above) than liberal bias.

Fourth, and more to Frank's point, here in Germany there's been a little histrionic outrage, but most of the people on the German street (or, if you will, Deutschestrasse) I've talked to simply shrug it off. Stories of abuse in the War on Terror generate about as much excitement here these days as news that unemployment has risen again: people have grown desensitized and resigned to it. And, per Jonah Goldberg, Andrew Sullivan, et al., that's almost as scary as the alleged act itself.

@ jaba

""I am not talking about the morality of the war. I am simply saying that even in this case, where everyone thought Saddam DID have WMD's, they all turned out to be wrong. This does not mean they were lying, does it?""

Oh, I agree that it doesn't mean they were lying. But, I think your comparison between the Newsweek article and WMD's, is an apples and oranges comparison. That's all. As you've indicated EVERYONE thought Saddam had WMDs (which he did, the question is "Where are they now?" There is also plenty of evidence Saddam wanted to have WMDs-i.e. secret labs blah, blah, blah...). On the other hand, I have to question (because of past experiences-i.e. Rathergate, Eason Jordan, etc...) the motives of a media that prints articles based on little or no evidence. Like I said, I believe much of the media has an agenda.

""Again, if Newsweek was NOT lying, would you have approved of them publishing this story. I think not.""

You're right. I wouldn't approve, because of reasons previoulsy stated: importance of the story compared to the predictable outcome, ESPECIALLY in a time of war.

""Perhaps you know of the Court decision where it was decided it is NOT up to the press to provide both sides of the story. As much as you object, this decision will not be changed, and perhaps the problem is that the administration just keeps providing so much raw material for the press.""

For me, it's not about printing both sides of a story; it's about printing the THE story in CONTEXT. There are many court decisions that I don't agree with. Maybe my individual objection won't change anything; but, many objections may cause a change. Anyway, what does the administration have to do with the Newsweek incident? I don't believe a directorate to flush Qurans was given. I have absolutely no problem with the press criticizing the administration, IF criticism is due.

Just go back to last years election campaign. The media overwhelmingly reported more positively about Kerry, than they did Bush. I don't think that was an accident. The reporting was simply too lopsided in favor of Mr. Fake Purplehearts.

@ Ernie

""First, since when is it news that Newsweek is a shoddy, sensationalist publication?""

Perhaps for you and I it's not news. However, for some people it's a reason to cause trouble. I think that must be taken into account before going to press.

BTW, I would add biased to shoddy and sensationalist.

""Second, these murderers in Afghanistan were just itching for an excuse to kill Westerners and their supporters.""

Agreed, but do we need to keep giving them freebies? Again, our western media is the terrorist's best weapon.

@ James,

>BTW, I would add biased to shoddy and sensationalist.
Meh, that's not news either. Every publication is biased to a certain extent. And Isikoff's no boilerplate partisan.

>>Second, these murderers in Afghanistan were just itching for an excuse to kill Westerners and their supporters.
>Agreed, but do we need to keep giving them freebies? Again, our western media is the terrorist's best weapon.

Hey, agreed! In fact, why don't we start by abandoning the hyperbolic Newsweek-bashing and focusing on the real criminals, the murderers. But something tells me I won't be seeing that story on the cover of National Review next week.

Americans expect respectable news publications to maintain longstanding ethical standards. These standards clearly no longer exist. We have seen huge implications world-wide because of the clear liberal bias in our nations mainstream press. To absolve Newsweek for accountability is not an option.

I do not mean that Newsweek should be held accountable for the riot deaths. Those people were driven by the same fanatical lunacy that the MSM denies exists when they blame Bush and America for every throatslitting, stoning, and genocide perpetrated within the Muslim world.

Newsweek should be held to account for printing an inflammable story based on an anonymous single-sourced with no corroboration, and pretending that it was reliably sourced, doubly supported and fact-checked. This is against all journalistic ethical standards in my country, and is a very serious breach of the public trust.

We should know this:

"The rioters are the real enemy, not Newsweek and not the American soldiers serving as prison guards. Just to restore some proper perspective, let me quote a snippet from a sermon delivered by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, which ran last weekend on the Palestinian Authority's official TV station:

"The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world - except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquillity under our rule because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew."

These are the extremists, the real enemy. Let's keep our eye on the ball."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/19/opinion/19brooks.html?n=Top/Opinion/Editorials%20and%20Op-Ed/Op-Ed/Columnists/David%20Brooks

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