Here are a couple of interesting followup items on that story about Newsweek having to retract their Koran-flushing-guards-at-Guantanamo news item. First, from Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, a really nice analysis of the degree of hypocrisy required for the Bush people to get feisty with Newsweek for harming our reputation in the Muslim world: Abuse Week – Behind Bush’s latest assault on the press.
And from David Goldenberg, whose Golden Palace monkey piece I just linked to, and who made me feel special by singling out lies.com for a personal submission of same, here’s an aspect of the Bush team’s asymmetrical media warfare that I should have noticed myself: How the Man is helped by today’s Deep Throats.
Government officials had the opportunity to respond to the Koran in-the-toilet story before it aired, and were evasive or declined to comment. Therein lies the biggest lesson about how this information made it to print. The Bush team seems to have figured out that it is better to force media organizations to scramble around in damage-control mode after printing overreaching stories than to correct them beforehand.
I remember how that was very much a part of the Dan Rather Memogate scandal, but I hadn’t realized it was part of this Newsweek incident as well. (Goldenberg also references a third example of the same practice.)
Sneaky, sneaky politicos! Wicked! Tricksy! False!