Monday, May 16, 2005

Flushed Koran Story an "Error"

Newsweek magazine confessed that its facts were wrong in a story that had deadly consequences. Link.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newsweek magazine said on Sunday it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.

Editor Mark Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.

The report sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza. [...]

The weekly news magazine said in its May 23 edition that the information had come from a "knowledgeable government source" who told Newsweek that a military report on abuse at Guantanamo Bay said interrogators flushed at least one copy of the Koran down a toilet in a bid to make detainees talk.

But Newsweek said the source later told the magazine he could not be certain he had seen an account of the Koran incident in the military report and that it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts.

Whitaker told Reuters that Newsweek did not know if the reported toilet incident involving the Koran ever occurred. "As to whether anything like this happened, we just don't know," he said in an interview.

Does this sound familiar. A major liberal news outlet gets some unverified information that makes the Bush Administration look bad. Rather than take the time to verify the facts, and take the risk that they will verify that the "facts" are wrong and they will not have another anti-Bush article to run, they speed the story into print. However, the consequences were far worse than when Dan Rather rushed the memo story onto the air without checking whether the memos it was based on were authentic,

Here people died. In the American legal system, there is a name for it when your negligence causes someone's death. The word is "murder." There is no chance that our legal system will prosecute the guilty parties at a major news outlet for murder, but I hope the relatives of the victims sue Newsweek for their entire net worth. That so-called news organization is far more deserving of being put out of business than Arthur Anderson was.


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