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Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek: Weak News

So rioting and bloodshed continue in Afghanistan due to the irresponsible "reporting" on the part of Newsweek Magazine. As they stated in their article, which is relying on unnamed sources: "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 and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash." So Newsweek decided to print an uncorroborated item, which the Pentagon is denying, and the result was widespread rioting and the deaths of at least 17 people. Here is Newsweek's overdue, inadequate, but very necessary apology.

I know that there are many out there saying that Newsweek has blood on it hands. And I'm inclined to agree. But I am also bothered by any culture that allows for a murderous rampage beacause of a blind item in magazine about a desecration of a holy object. Did Christians across America go on bloody riots due to the artist Cris Ofili's desecration of the Virgin Mary? Do we expect Jewish Groups to go on killing sprees any time there is anti-semitic vandalism of our synagogues? Do American citizens run wild in violent revolt every time some anti-American protester burns a flag?

Instead of accusing Newsweek magazine of "causing" this unrest, maybe we should all stop being apologists for this out-of-proportion response in Afghanistan to the alleged offense.

18 Comments:

Anonymous shoshanna said...

My gut reaction was also to blame Newsweek, but maybe I AM an apologist for this crazy behavior in Afganistan. Now that you mention it, why should this be an expected reaction? Good post.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Shifra said...

Ah, I see your point, but that would assume that people are actually responsible for their own actions... How unAmerican! Don't you know that Americans need to be lead around by the media and advertising to know what to do, what to think, and how to feel?

Personal responsibility is so 50 years ago!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Newsweek shouldn't have appologized. They should have issued a statmeent that the American media doesn't temper reports based on the presumed response of its readership, and they have no reason to think twice about a bunch of bloodthirsty beasts that live two continents over.

Their response is coardly and runs counter to the whole point of our little excursion in the middle east. Democracy means that shit will happen and you need to deal with it. the sooner we can import that over to the arabs, the better off we'll all be.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I read a report from Reuters quoting some Newsweek exec that the publication does not plan on punishing the guilty reporters. Do you think that letting them continue unadmonished is ok, too, because if you punish them that would be caving to the pressure?

10:21 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Crap. I just had a whole long response that got deleted. I don't have the chaishek to do it again. Maybe later. Damn. Damn. Damn.

10:27 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I hope you at least agreed with me, of course!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

well, in a nutshell:

I was kinda agreeing with you and SW where the media should not have to be apologetic. However, with the savvy readers of today, with blogs and satellites, I also think that they should be held to a higher level of integrity rather than print whatever will bring readers. The media doesn't seem to be learning its lesson and keeps getting burned. Ultimately, they are responsible for their reporting. This case too.

The other point I raised was echoing your point on how these savages can go on rampage over this. You cannot find a religion or society that hold human life in less regard. They are animals and that's it.

HOWEVER, I also was thinking how we can learn a little lesson from this as well. Halevai, WE should hold our holy books and teaching with such reverence; WE should also feel like going on rampage if the honor of our torah was defiled. (I say feel and not actually do). We should also feel like going all out to defend its honor. However, actually rioting and killing people brings shame, not honor.

my first comment was longer :-)

11:27 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"Halevai, WE should hold our holy books and teaching with such reverence; WE should also feel like going on rampage if the honor of our torah was defiled. (I say feel and not actually do). We should also feel like going all out to defend its honor."

Actually, the only lesson to be learned and is that Arabs are hardwired for violence. They are hardwired to live with their perversely flawed cultural priorities and intrinsic inability to understand what it means to conduct oneself in a civilized society.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

SW: no question that they're hardwired for violence. They enjoy killing and only understand that language. All I was saying is that it would be nice for Jews to have some passion and 'bren' (if you speak yiddish) in their beliefs.

12:09 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

JPT: I hear what your are saying, I just don't know that it DOESN'T exist in our community. You have to know where to look. Take a look at the demonstrations in Israel whenever there is planned construction over areas that have Jewish graves. No one is looking for blood, but if those protesters are not displaying passion, I don't know who is. But yes, in OUR world, Judaism is to some extent diluted to the point that I don't know if that passion exists for our holy objects.

But the type of rioting that is going on in Afghanistan is obviously not the kind of passion you mean.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

the demonstrations you're referring to are looked upon with some disdain in the mainstream orthodox world.

Again, I think the rioting you mention in Afghanistan is to be abhorred. I'm only talking about having the passion, not the killing.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

oh, and I just noticed the post title. Nice work :-)

4:41 PM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Check out DB. You've made the big league :-)

5:21 PM  
Anonymous TTC said...

shows you how religious they are -is this a religious way to react to possible desecration of religion?

6:20 PM  
Blogger etryer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

I guess I should have read your post instead of relying on someone else's interpretation of it. Or consider how the Palestinians were excused for rioting because Ariel Sharon took a walk on Har Habayit. But when Sheikh Sabri moved his office opposite the Kotel Hakatan a few weeks earlier Jews didn't start rioting for this encroachment of their holy place.

7:44 PM  
Blogger YOSEF said...

IF Someone yells fire in a movie theater and there is a mass panic,with people getting trampled to death, do you blame the yeller or do you blame the people for not having left in an orderly fashion?

11:53 AM  
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2:48 AM  

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