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24 May 2005


As usual, BBC reporter Greg Palast nails current events as only a real journalist can. I have nothing to add, really, other than that if anyone happens to have a spare spine lying around, please send it to:

c/o Mark Whitaker
251 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

Or give them a call at (212) 445-4000 and let them know that your high school newspaper had more integrity than they do.

"It's appalling that this story got out there," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on her way back from Iraq.

What's NOT appalling to Condi is that the US is holding prisoners at Guantanamo under conditions termed "torture" by the Red Cross. What's not appalling to Condi is that prisoners of the Afghan war are held in violation of international law after that conflict has supposedly ended. What is NOT appalling to Condi is that prisoner witnesses have reported several instances of the Koran's desecration.

What is appalling to her is that these things were REPORTED. So to Condi goes to the Joseph Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda Iron Cross.

But I don't want to leave out our President. His aides report that George Bush is "angry" about the report -- not the desecration of the Koran, but the REPORTING of it.

And so long as George is angry and Condi appalled, Newsweek knows what to do: swiftly grab its corporate ankles and ask the White House for mercy.

But there was no mercy. Donald Rumsfeld pointed the finger at Newsweek and said, "People lost their lives. People are dead." Maybe Rumsfeld was upset that Newsweek was taking away his job. After all, it's hard to beat Rummy when it comes to making people dead.

And just for the record: Newsweek, unlike Rumsfeld, did not kill anyone -- nor did its report cause killings. Afghans protested when they heard the Koran desecration story (as Christians have protested crucifix desecrations). The Muslim demonstrators were gunned down by the Afghan military police -- who operate under Rumsfeld's command.

Our Secretary of Defense, in his darkest Big Brother voice, added a warning for journalists and citizens alike, "People need to be very careful about what they say."

And Newsweek has now promised to be very, very good, and very, very careful not to offend Rumsfeld, appall Condi or anger George.

For their good behavior, I'm giving Newsweek and its owner, the Washington Post, this week's Yellow Streak Award for Craven Cowardice in Journalism.
Unfortunately, I don't have an extra spine handy. But I do have this editorial. So I'm going to mail a copy to Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. I suggest you do the same.

Comments on "Newsweak"


Blogger Gretchen Ross said ... (5/25/2005 11:59:00 AM) : 

LOL @ spare spine. As usual, Palast gets it bang dead on...


Blogger ding said ... (6/02/2005 09:25:00 PM) : 

i'm glad i'm not the only one who thinks of high school journalism. i was terrified of getting a story wrong. i was late for deadline because i wanted to be correct - make sure my sources all said what i said they said, that i wasn't making shit up.

my high school soccer coach made me retract a story because i called a play wrong in a game.

so, if high school students get how important journalism is, how come adults can't?



Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (6/02/2005 09:50:00 PM) : 

That's a really good question. Probably a lot of factors. A lot can probably be boiled down to corporate ownership and careerism.

It reminds me of something Slacktivist was saying about scooping the daily paper that he works for by blogging about the Down Street Memo, which the U.S. media is still avoiding like SARS.


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