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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Media Strikes Back

Looks like the bitch-slap the White House gave Newsweek might have some unexpected consequences. Maybe the mainstream media has a spine after all?

Molly Ivins from The Sun Herald:

So where does all this leave us? With a story that is not only true, but previously reported numerous times. So let's drop the "Lynch Newsweek" bull. Seventeen people have died in these riots. They didn't die because of anything Newsweek did - the riots were caused by what our government has done.

Get your minds around it. Our country is guilty of torture. To quote myself once more: "What are you going to do about this? It's your country, your money, your government. You own this country, you run it, you are the board of directors. They are doing this in your name. The people we elected to public office do what you want them to. Perhaps you should get in touch with them."

Ari Berman from The Nation:

The Bush Administration's aggressive response to a Newsweek story alleging that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushed the Koran down the toilet in front of Islamic detainees displays the height of hypocrisy. After Newsweek clumsily issued an apology, followed by a retraction, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called on the magazine to "help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region," by explaining "what happened and why they got it wrong." Maybe the Bush Administration should do the same, by opening up its secret facilities for inspection to the Red Cross and other third-party observers. We are printing below a letter from reader Calgacus--a pseudonym for a researcher in the national security field for the past twenty years--that shows how the desecration of the Koran became standard US interrogation practice.

Anne Applebaum from the Washington Post:

Blaming the messenger, even for a bungled message, doesn't get the administration off the hook. Yes, to paraphrase Rumsfeld, people need to be very careful, not only about what they say but about what they do. And, yes, people whose military and diplomatic priorities include the defeat of Islamic fanaticism and the spread of democratic values in the Muslim world need to be very, very careful, not only about what they say but about what they do to the Muslims they hold in captivity.

From the Editorials of the Star Tribune:

The White House response fits a pattern of trying to intimidate the press from exploring issues the administration doesn't want explored. Compare it, for example, to the Dan Rather report on President Bush's military service. To this day, we don't know if what Rather reported was accurate or not, or to what degree it may have been accurate. Nor do we know whether the documents he cited were genuine. All we know is that CBS can't verify that they were genuine.

Yet the hullabaloo caused by that incident appears to have intimidated other journalists from trying to pin down the full truth about Bush's military service. And now there will probably be less enterprise reporting on prisoner abuse or anything else that might embarrass this administration. It also fits neatly in with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's effort to muzzle public television and radio. This behavior seems so Nixonian, except that the current crew is much better at the press-intimidation game than William Safire and Vice President Spiro Agnew were. For Newsweek and other media that come in for this treatment, we have one word: Resist.

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