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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 17, 2005 / 8 Iyar, 5765

The Newsweek riots

By Rich Lowry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | How many stories has Newsweek magazine written about the Bush administration allegedly "skewing intelligence" by relying on raw, insufficiently sourced data? How many times has it lamented that these mistakes have hurt the U.S. abroad? Too many to count.

What would be funny if it weren't so tragic is that some of them were authored by reporters Michael Isikoff and John Barry, the very duo that has itself dealt the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan a blow by stretching poorly sourced information into a false report about the deliberate desecration of the Quran by U.S. interrogators.

Isikoff and Barry wrote in the May 9 edition: "Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell Newsweek: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet." They continued that "these findings [are] expected in an upcoming report by the U.S. Southern Command [SouthCom] in Miami." Based on the report, destabilizing and deadly anti-U.S. riots broke out in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The report gave the impression that (1) FBI e-mails from Gitmo mentioned the Quran-flushing incident; (2) the incident had been confirmed; and (3) it was about to appear in a U.S. government report. All of these claims are, according to the Pentagon, false (which is not to say that nothing bad ever happened at Gitmo).

No one is perfect — not even the brilliant Mike Isikoff — but this is a telling error. One government official told Isikoff that he had seen the Quran-desecrating incident in the forthcoming Gitmo report. Newsweek tried to confirm this. But a spokesman for SouthCom refused comment because it is an ongoing investigation. Another defense official attempted to correct one error unrelated to the Quran desecration, but didn't comment on the rest. With this solid nonconfirmation in hand, Newsweek ran with its explosive single-sourced item.

Once people started dying, Isikoff's original source said he couldn't be sure that he had read about the incident in the SouthCom report. Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker issued a weaselly statement saying that "we regret that we got any part of our story wrong," without detailing what the errors were. Nor did he forthrightly apologize — although Newsweek was part of the press pack demanding that President Bush acknowledge and apologize for his errors during last year's presidential campaign.

It is, of course, unfair to blame the magazine for the deadly work of anti-American fanatics abroad. But it can be blamed for its shoddy original work, for its non-apology, and for the media culture of hostility toward the military that makes its mistake so characteristic. That is not to say that any of its reporters or editors harbors personal animosity toward the military. But they work in an industry that has defined its success since the Vietnam War almost exclusively in terms of exposing U.S. wrongdoing. The media collectively want to believe the worst about the military, and in light of Abu Ghraib, they have panted after every possible prison abuse.

During the fallout from last year's CBS forged-documents flap, shrewd Newsweek political writer Howard Fineman said: "A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don't mean the Democrats. I'm talking about the 'mainstream media.'" He argued that the media had been identified with a crusading liberalism since Watergate and Vietnam, but their power was waning in the new political and information environment: "It's hard to know who, if anyone, in the 'media' has any credibility."

It's only getting harder. Back in November 2003, Newsweek complained in a cover story that Vice President Dick Cheney "bought into shady assumptions" leading into the Iraq War, partly because of his "dire view of the terrorist threat." In its Quran story, Newsweek itself bought into shady assumptions, partly because of the media's dire view of the U.S. military. And so the media party continues its decline.

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© 2005 King Features Syndicate

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