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Newsweek Hits Bottom, Continues To Dig
By Ed Driscoll · May 24, 2005 03:18 PM · Oh, That Liberal Media!

Underneath his column last week, Newsweek's editor, Mark Whitaker had this item:

Monday afternoon, May 16, Whitaker issued the following statement: Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Qur'an abuse at Guantanamo Bay.
But that's not what Daniel Klaidman, Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief told the Middle East's Al Jazeera TV three days later on the 19th:
We are neutral on whether any form of Koran desecration took place. There are allegations out there, but the allegations have not been subjected to the kind of scrutiny or legal processes that normally are...you need before you can establish whether they are true and we certainly know that the military has not confirmed any of these allegations, and so what we are saying is we did not have the information we needed to go forward with this story and we are also saying that this specific act of Koran desecration was not confirmed by the US military investigators, and that is what we reported. As to whether these things happened or not, we are, like the rest of the people out there and news organizations - we don’t know. We have heard the allegations, we continue to report, and the US military and other entities are investigating, and as I said, we are neutral on whether any of this ever happened.
(Emphasis mine.)

To borrow something that Jonah Goldberg once wrote about Pat Buchanan, Newsweek "brilliantly manages to do with one language what Yassir Arafat does with two": apologize to the US for fabulist reporting and simultaneously tell the Arab world that they're "neutral on whether any form of Koran desecration took place".

Ernie Pyle just rolled over in his grave; and of course, feigning neutrality is what has caused so many problems for American-based media institutions in the first place.

As InstaPundit wrote yesterday about the Japanese edition of Newsweek's American flag in trashcan cover (and we are not neutral on whether or not any form of US flag desecration took place--it did):

many American journalistic enterprises engage in more America-bashing abroad than at home. I suspect that the Internet will make that much harder, as people are starting to pay attention, and to compare this stuff.

Update: Speaking of InstaPundit, in his latest MSNBC column, Glenn Reynolds writes:

I worry that freedom of the press -- which in its modern extent is basically a creature of the post-World War II Supreme Court -- is likely to be at risk if people see it as merely a special-interest protection for a news-media industry that is producing defective products that do harm.
Glenn believes that the rise of "we-dia" (i.e.: millions of bloggers) will help to maintain the First Amendment, even as "Big media outfits have been squandering their credibility and public regard for decades".

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