May 18, 2005
'The Story of the Story Isn't the Story At All'
Columbia Journalism Review: Newsweek hasn't retracted Koran claim, just that the claim will appear in a forthcoming report, nor were the riots related to this story:
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.
Consider another central issue: whether Newsweek's premature report actually spurred the riots. Thanks to the White House spin, and the media's lazy reporting, the conventional wisdom is now that it did. But the reality is that it probably did not, at least in any significant sense. According to a statement last Thursday by General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, after hearing from commanders on the scene in Afghanistan, the "rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else." As we've noted, that makes sense, based on the Taliban's past patterns and the fact that previous reports about Koran desecration at Guantanamo spurred no such riots.Posted by Karol at May 18, 2005 11:04 AM | TrackBack