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May 17, 2005

Where The Right Is Taking The Newsweek Story

-- by Dave Johnson

I checked Rush Limbaugh's radio show today to see what The Party is putting out there. Rush says that the entire story about interrogators flushing Korans down toilets was an intentional lie. He says Newsweek "didn't make a mistake," but that it was "attempt to undermine the effort" that Bush is making in the Middle East. From this morning's show, "When's the last time you saw the media in support of the war on terror or the war in Iraq, Dottie?"

He says Newsweek put this story out there because they (and by extension liberals and Democrats) are on the side of terrorists against America, and that all of the press just lies and should never be listened to. "You're under the false impression the media's is on our side. [. . .] you go back to World War II, and you'll find -- even Cronkite ... they were all pro-America in World War II, on our side. You have to go back to World War II to find it, but things changed with Vietnam." He went on to say,

"They have an adversarial relationship with America when a Republican president is conducting a war, and whether they know it or not they end up siding with the bad guys."

Later,

"It's a different world after 9/11. Since then, Newsweek and TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post, had not said as you just did that Bush was duped, they said Bush lied. John Kerry said Bush lied. Michael Moore said Bush lied. They all say Bush is no good, Rumsfeld lied, he's no good, Rice lied, she's no good, Richard Clarke was saying they're incompetent, they're no good, they lied. The left was saying Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction, Bush knew there weren't any. He lied. And all these people dead, all these people injured, it was not necessary. Now here comes Newsweek.

[. . .] The attempt to destroy the man, George W. Bush, and members of his administration, from John Ashcroft to Alberto Gonzales to the judges. I mean, to these people nobody is any good, nobody is any good, they all suck, they're all rotten people, Christians, real threat to America, bammo, here comes Newsweek. ... They are admitting they hire reporters that make up quotes, make up sources, basically lie, write bogus stories. ... But George Bush is saving American lives, promoting democracy and freedom in parts of the world that have never seen it before. Newsweek is trying to rile up the people who don't wish that to happen. I mean, I don't see what's so hard to understand here."

And Rush accuses Newsweek of trying to rile people up?

So... when can we expect the leaders of The Party to condemn these remarks?

Rush's example is pretty much the way this whole thing is being portrayed at most right-wing news outlets and blogs, which means this is pretty much how most of America is hearing the story. They either state or imply Newsweek admitted that no one ever put a Koran in a toilet, which proves that reports of torture, etc. are all part of a media plot to harm the American government.

More here,

A media watchdog group . . . compared Newsweek's journalistic integrity to that of CBS News during the National Guard controversy.
here,
Kincaid said Newsweek's correction will never catch up with the original false report and that countless Americans may die as a result.
here,
Like Dan Rather and CBS News, Newsweek put politics and craving a scoop ahead of truth, not to mention ahead of America's security.
here,
"The charge here is that an erroneous report led to death. If that's what actually happened and can be causally established, then there is no more serious charge you can make against a news organization, and no more bizarre explanation from one," media analyst and "FOX News Watch" host Eric Burns said.

Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee, said Monday that "Newsweek's behavior is not merely unfortunate, it is criminal."

here,
In its Koran story, Newsweek itself bought into shady assumptions, partly because of the media's dire view of the U.S. military.
here,
Disturbingly often what you find instead is liberal-tilting American reporters covering American war efforts with the same critical "detachment" Al Jazeera might bring to the task.
here,
Anybody with a little knowledge could have told them it was likely that people would die as a result of the article.
here,
This is not irresponsible reporting. This is manslaughter.
here,
The mainstream media is ideologically liberal and instinctually hostile to George W. Bush, U.S. foreign policy, and the American military.
And this is just barely getting started. There is so much like this out there...

Meanwhile Columbia Journalism Review' CJR Daily writes,

What exactly has the magazine retracted? Most reporters, particularly on television, are reporting that Newsweek has retracted the allegation that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. But that's wrong: The magazine has said only that it no longer stands by its claim that allegations of Koran desecration appear in a forthcoming report from U.S. Southern Command. That's a very different point. There have been numerous other reports -- mostly from detainees -- suggesting that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo did abuse the Koran.

Posted by Dave Johnson at May 17, 2005 4:16 PM

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» So you wanna know, "What's the deal with Newsweek?" from Mike and Nora's blog
I heard about this kerfuffle over the weekend on Air America. I had no idea what they were talking about. A quick check at mediamatters.org cleared things up: Following reports that a retracted May 9 Newsweek item contributed to violent protests in A [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 7:10 PM

» Where The Right Is Taking The Newsweek Story from Dr. Laniac's Laboratory
Dave Johnson does a thorough round-up of wingnuttia's treatment of the Newsweek story. Shorter version: Newsweek intentionally lied, the whole torture thing is a lie, Newsweek is on the side of the terrorists. That's certainly Rush's approach. One can ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 5:27 AM


Comments

I like reading about Limbaugh. That way I don;t have to listen to him.

Posted by: Sebastian Meyer at May 17, 2005 5:42 PM

I expect an orchestrated escalation of this kind of thing. As I say in my own post, the present moment will be a litmus test for the cowardice of the liberals and moderates, the viciousness of the "conservatives" and Republican hacks, and the inane rightism of the press. I expect the worst from everyone. If anyone does anything good (Keith Olberman seems to be) they should be praised to the skies.

Posted by: John Emerson at May 17, 2005 7:29 PM

Apparently the Lush Rimjob is unaware that every conflict the US have ever won... were won under a Democrat in the White house.

Posted by: Thomas Ware at May 17, 2005 8:27 PM

post script - nobody "won" the Civil War.

Posted by: Thomas Ware at May 17, 2005 8:29 PM

I think it does a pretty gross injustice to history (and to my own great grandfather) to suggest that nobody won the American Civil War. The United States won that one. To claim otherwise because you don't want to admit that there once was a decent Republican party, adamantly principled, with brilliant leadership, is just goofy.

Posted by: richard at May 17, 2005 9:05 PM

I think Oblerman has 'Moe Green' written all over him. I give them less than 18 months to pull it off...

Posted by: jon st at May 18, 2005 4:48 AM

Have you read "What's the Matter with Kansas?" yet? The book is so popular and I'd heard so much about it that I almost didn't read it, especially since it was presented as though it had just one idea to present: backlash. If you want to understand the strategy of the right and why it's so crippled the left it's a must read.

Dave's been absolutely right to "follow the money" examining where it's gone and what it's supported. "What's the Matter with Kansas" spells out the strategy all that money bought and how and why it's been so effective. One reason is that they've deliberately copied all the populist strategies that made the left so successful for so long, leaving the left completely stripped of its normal appeals and tactics.

Sounds to me like we've gotta start from scratch, folks.

Posted by: MJ at May 18, 2005 5:59 AM

There really are people who are out there speaking the truth. Did you see Bill Moyer on TV two nights ago. He is filled with indignation over what is going on in the news media and the fact that they are now trying to change PBC into a right wing Fox "wannabe". He said that they have succeeded in getting him out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair. Greg Palast is a genuine investigative reporter who used to work in the US but moved to BBC in order to do his job. He is the one who uncovered the memo between Blair and Bush working out an excuse to invade Iraq long before we were given the excuse of WMD's. That was the excuse they finally came up with and Palast was the one who brought it out. Palast has broken many such stories that have been given scant coverage here. Palast has written a book (I can't think of the name of it right now) that is well worth reading. Just go to amazon.com and put in Palast as the author and you will bring it up. Amy Goodman is another investigative reporter who pulls no punches. She can be seen 3xdaily on Democracy Now which is showed on Free Speech TV. Another fantastic investigative news program is INN World Report, also on Free Speech TV. Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Gore Vidal have been guests on Free Speech TV and have written many books denouncing this administration. They are out there and they are breaking news events. Eventually CBS, NBC, ABC and yes even Fox will have to change because Free Speech TV and Link TV (I forgot to mention them before as another non corporate, independent news station), Pacifica Radio are all expanding. most people do recognize the truth when they hear it and more and more are getting in tune with these people. There is hope.

Posted by: Jane Algozzini at May 18, 2005 7:42 AM

You'd have to be brain dead to believe anything ole Mr. Rush has to say. Must be the drugs. He is without a doubt the king of 'making shit up'.

Posted by: mikefromtexas at May 19, 2005 12:32 AM

Jane: The book is "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

Posted by: Lex at May 19, 2005 9:03 AM

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