Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek and the Right Wing

The Newsweek story is a collage composed of unsavory pictures of American society. In case you haven't read a paper in the last couple days, Newsweek published an article including an allegation that American soldiers desecrated the Quran. At the same time, violence in Afghanistan increased, and several people were killed. Newsweek has now retracted the story. Here are a few of my thoughts on the affair.

1. I Don't Doubt the Original Story I mean, come on, are we supposed to believe that the sadistic bastards we have hired to torture suspects are going to get all warm and fuzzy about a book they don't believe in? Do you think they're going to smear menstrual blood on these guys, or sic dogs on these people or make them masturbate while wearing women's underwear on their heads, but they're going to draw the line at ripping a few pages out of a book and throwing them in a toilet? Give me a freaking break! Newsweek may or may not have had sufficient proof, but anyone who believes that our tax dollars are supporting the kind of torturers who blanch at desecrating the Quran is in need of a reality check upside the head. The Pentagon does not really deny the reality of the desecration, they just claim that their cover-up has been too successful to allow them to be caught.

2. The Article Did Not Cause the Riots Despite what the right-wingers would have you believe, the Newsweek article did not disrupt a peaceful teaparty in Afghanistan. From Think Progress, via the indispensable Eschaton, comes the point that before the Newsweek report even hit the newsstands, the Associated Press was already noting a "revived Taliban-led insurgency" and the Agence France Press said there was "an upsurge in violence by suspected Taliban rebels" which had left two U.S. Marines dead.

3. The Right Wing is Not Allowed to Complain About Faulty Information Causing Deaths Sorry. But under any sober application of the straight face test, nobody who voted for George W. Bush is allowed to criticize anybody for taking action on faulty information. It's just not going to be allowed. Violation of this rule could cause the planet to explode due to an irony overload. Let's be careful out there, you Bush supporters. And if you try to be cute with it, like the insufferable jerks who think they're being witty by saying "Newsweek Lied; People Died", you are a despicable pig.

4. This is About Intimidation, not Fact-Checking The intellectual midgets on the right are being played right now by the smarter and more insidious enemies of American freedom. Remember how a survey a little more than a year ago revealed that high school students don't understand the First Amendment and approve of the government being able to censor news? This flap plays right into the hands of those who want to restrict our freedoms. Read this insightful post if you want a more thorough consideration of how elements of the right are already using this story to swing support for censorship.

Okay, commenters, what am I missing?


Anonymous dolphin said...

You covered it pretty well and said alot of what I've been telling people about the issue since it broke. One thing I'd like to add to your second point is that even if there had been a peaceful tea party going on until he article was released, the violence STILL isn't Newsweek's fault. Doesn't the right claim to be the party of personal responsibility? How do they figure then that this article was so outrageous that it propelled the individuals involved helplessly into riots? I'm not a religous man but there no inanimate object you could destroy that would send me into a violent rage. The blame lies with the people who committed the violence.

That said, I do chastise Newsweek for what does appear to be faulty fact-checking (even if there facts are true which I don't doubt).

5/17/2005 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Les said...

One other nice point: the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that his commander on the scene said the violence was unrelated to the article, and had to do with local...politics...I guess that's the word for random violence (real and rhetorical) these days.

5/18/2005 3:52 PM  
Blogger likwidshoe said...

Remember how a survey a little more than a year ago revealed that high school students don't understand the First Amendment and approve of the government being able to censor news?

Yep. From those wonderful government schools that have been run by The Teacher's Union for decades. Not surprising really when a civics class is not to be found and the U.S. Constitution isn't taught.

5/25/2005 12:30 PM  
Blogger Justin Goggles said...

Their as been reports since Jan. of 2004 from international media about the Koran being desicrated (pissed on, burned, etc.).

So......Newsweek may have botched this particular incident, but the truth will come out about this common tactic.

Liberty first,

Ben -

5/27/2005 9:27 PM  

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