Monday, May 16, 2005

A Slightly Political Rant

Newsweek recently published a small piece about supposed abuses at Guantanamo Bay (click here for more info). The article stated that in order to "break" detainees and get them to tell interrogators about potential terrorist plots, the Koran was being flushed down the toilet. Based on this piece, there have been anti-American protests in Afghanistan and other countries; over a dozen people are dead and hundreds more were wounded.

Turns out, the story wasn't true. Newsweek got the information from an anonymous source. One source. I used to work at a newspaper, and one of the cardinal rules was to validate your story with at least 2 credible sources. And here is a reputable news magazine running a provocative story without doing that.

There are so many things wrong with this, in my opinion. First and foremost, of course, is the fact that people died due to the false claims of the story and additionally that it put our troops in further danger. Secondly is the question that came directly to my mind: how much can we really trust our media? Between the CBS debacle with the falsified documents pertaining to Bush's service record, the NY Times' admission that one of their reporters had been "creating" news for years, and Fox News' supposed "Fair and Balanced" everything-Bush-does-is-just-wonderful! journalism, who do we trust to find out what's really going on in the world?

And finally, its bad enough when the stories they tell about Americans perpetrating horrible acts against Muslims are true. It apalls us all to think that Americans (or anyone, really) would do things like that - we always consider ourselves above that kind of behavior (though obviously we aren't). But when the stories are untrue, its stirring a pot that should be left alone. Its as if America wasn't hated enough throughout the world that someone felt the need to add fuel to an already out of control fire.

22 comments:

Redhead Mommy said...

I am SOOOO with you on this one. Anymore, I'm very hesitant to believe news unless it comes from the CBC or NPR. I especially don't like Fox News ;)

mrsmogul said...

Here in London, it's mostly Muslims and recently someone put white ribbons all down the street I live in. My husband got paranpoid because He thought it was aimed at me. But i don;t think so. We had the council come and take them down. I am not political but I agree with you.

Guppyman said...

Who do you trust?

I have found that the major players in the news are the last sources I will go to for information. The race to put out the cutting edged story before anyone else leaves facts something to be verified later if at all. It's pretty pathetic really.

I have to defend Fox News a little here though. While their coverage does lean to the right, they are very honest about it. They will tell you that they are comming from a conservative slant. I like the honesty there, as opposed to the rest of the media, who are obviously biased to the left, but trying to convince everybody that they aren't.

I know my politics are far different from yours here, but we do agree that the media has gotten fairly pathetic at least. ;)

Thank God for bloggers... we wouldn't have a clue without them what was really happening.

Cori said...

It scares me.The fact that we are hated so much and then things like this happens.Sometimes i wonder who could blame them?

Daisyhead said...

I heard about this on the news this morning. Innocent people died once again because of us. *shakes head*

Twist of Kate said...

And I like how they said, Newsweek sent out a statement of apology. Wow, thanks that really helps those who died now? "Sorry"just doesn't seem to cut it.

Retro Girl said...

I agree with you. I also once worked for a newspaper and the sources had to be verified and it had to be more than just one. Journalism has turned into pop news.

Nam LaMore said...

quality of media in this country is going down the tube -- this is another example of the corruption in this country. the desire for sensational headlines and inflated circulation can be seductive.

just curious, what news outlets do you read or listen on a regular basis?

that said, i do love this country and wouldn't choose to live anywhere else.

Bumbling Bav said...

People can not retell a story without putting their own spin on things.

This is sad, very sad.... but it does not only happen in the states, it happens here as well.

And heck, I love ya..... but then again my grandmother was from the states...lol!

Katy said...

I was very disturbed when I heard about that. The sad part is poeple lost their lives because someone did the wrong thing. Ugh....

Natsthename said...

I hear you! The "apology" looks like a half-assed effort to change the story. Too little, too late.

Still, I wish I understood the Muslims who would get into a violent uproar over their holy book. Excuse me? Would the Christians riot in the streets and kill others because someone defaced the Bible? I kind of doubt it. I want to say to them, "Come on, people, IT IS A BOOK. It is words on PAPER."

SquareSlant said...

50 years ago what they wrote would have been Treason...I am all for freedom of the press - I hate censorship - but no one is minding the store anymore...It is gubbers like Newsweek that make the censors so hungry!

Why must our media report every little thing we do wrong in the war?

tommy said...

I spent almost 10 years in the military and the only thing I trust about the news anymore is the commercials.

I'm certain they get some things right, you can't put out as much stuff as they do without randomly getting it right every so often but my experience with them (especially the 60 Minutes folks) is that what actually happened is irrelevant because they have a point to make and that point is so much more important than any of those silly little things called facts or truth.

Dawn said...

well said

Jamie Dawn said...

I would love it if journalism was pure, but it rarely is. "Reporting" the news is a joke. There's always someone coloring it or presenting it a certain way rather than just reporting without a bias or slant. I agree that it's hard to know the real truth.

Raehan said...

The very scary thing about not being able to trust the media is that the health of any democracy depends on an informed citizenry. Our country needs a media that feels free to report the real news and our simply does NOT.

Don't get me started on Fox news.

Jim said...

It is truly a shame. Worse still, I saw a snippet on a local network station that showed Gen. Tommy Franks (I think) stating that detainees at Guantanamo had actually torn pages out of the Quran/Koran and stuffed them in their toilet to try and stop it up. . . AS A FORM OF PROTEST!! Thik of the irony, people in their own countries dying as a result of protests against their actions. If that's true, how could Newsweek have gotten it so wrong?

Then, after this clip, they showed a clip of a Newsweek spokesperson stating to CNN, it appeared, that it is all unfortunate, blah blah blah. It would have been more believeable if the jerk hadn't had a shite eatin' grin on his face.

A Career Woman and A Housewife said...

In reference to a quote by Ellen DeGeneres on her stand-up comedy video, she stated that one news ticker should just read "Things are getting worse..." and that statement should just continually scroll... I agree!
-Career Woman

Charlie Mc said...

They are not news tellers anymore, they are newsmakers....I hate them all!

J&J'sMom said...

This is why I don't watch the news or read newspapers. Believe me, the things that are really important reach me when they are true. The rest I don't hear about or makes me so angry I just jump on my soapbox and get it all out of my system...scary ...scary thing. Thanks for sharing.

Bridget Unnel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bridget Unnel said...

As someone "in the field", I can tell you it happens far more often than you think. Newsweek's journalistic "lapses" were extremely reckless to say the least. I did laugh at the White House's suggestion that the magazine now has to "do more" to fix the tensions that the story engendered. Yeah, like we were all singing Cumbaya around the campfire prior to that piece hitting the newsstands...