"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


It is perhaps too early to say for sure, but right now it looks like the Newsweek flap will pass without having the sort of impact that certain flying monkeys might have hoped for. In contrast to the Passion of Dan Rather, for instance, it seems unlikely at this point that anyone will actually lose his or her job. Indeed, while administration apologists are deep in atavistic bloodlust, they can't quite bring themselves to blame Michael Isikoff, the primary author of the offending piece. Media Matters notes that screeching heads such as Ed Rogers, Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, Freddie "The Beetle" Barnes, and the Right Honorable L. Brent Bozell III have all gone red in the face over Newsweek's sins while at the same time giving Isikoff a pass. Why? Simple, grasshopper:
BOZELL: One would be hard-pressed to lay the blame directly at the feet of Michael Isikoff. Michael Isikoff is also the reporter who broke the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky story for Newsweek magazine. (Emphasis supplied)

Alrighty then.

But I think the biggest reason why the Koran desecration story will not cause Newsweek (or, unfortunately perhaps, Isikoff) any lasting damage is that no one really doubts that the essence of the story is more or less accurate. Maybe Isikoff's Pentagon source fed him some bad details (which just happen to conform with numerous, independent reports from credible sources, by the way), but the known facts are just as shocking as the so-called "error." Female interrogators at Guantanamo are known to have smeared red paint on prisoners' faces, claiming it was menstrual blood, but we're supposed to believe that the interrogators drew the line at desecrating the Koran? Puhleeeze.

Which is why the Junta is now reduced to self parody. Consider this suggestion by Pentagon spokesworm Larry DiRita:
We've certainly found nothing that would give any substance to the Newsweek story in this regard. And as I said, the chairman has talked about instances here and there, about -- where there may have been the detainees themselves -- we've found several instances in logs -- again, these are not corroborated, either -- in detainee logs that suggest that detainees have, for whatever reason, torn pages from the Koran, et cetera.... We've found nothing that would substantiate precisely -- anything that you just said about the treatment of a Koran. We have -- other than what we've seen, that it's possible detainees themselves have done with pages of the Koran -- and I don't want to overstate that either because it's based on log entries that have to be corroborated.

Ooooh, those sneaky Islamofascists, desecrating their own holy book just so they could blame it on us! Yeah, that's believable.

So, as I said before, this may yet turn into a Really Big Deal - but I doubt it.




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