Newsweek's Afghan readership does not exist

Afghan Riots Not Tied to Report on Quran Handling, General Says (Army investigating allegations of mishandling at Guantanamo Bay facility)
By Jacquelyn S. Porth
Washington File Staff Writer
May 13, 2005

Washington – The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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In the latest issue, Newsweek gives a plausible explanation of why it printed the information.

How a Fire Broke Out
The story of a sensitive NEWSWEEK report about alleged abuses at Guantánamo Bay and a surge of deadly unrest in the Islamic world.
By Evan Thomas

May 23 issue – By the end of the week, the rioting had spread from Afghanistan throughout much of the Muslim world, from Gaza to Indonesia. Mobs shouting “Protect our Holy Book!” burned down government buildings and ransacked the offices of relief organizations in several Afghan provinces. The violence cost at least 15 lives, injured scores of people and sent a shudder through Washington, where officials worried about the stability of moderate regimes in the region.

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Keith Olberman nails the administration’s culpability in this mess:

MSNBC Countdown
May 16, 2005
The resignation of Scott McClellan (Keith Olbermann)

SECAUCUS — I smell something – and it ain’t a copy of the Qu’ran sopping wet from being stuck in a toilet in Guantanamo Bay. It’s the ink drying on Scott McClellan’s resignation, and in an only partly imperfect world, it would be drifting out over Washington, and imminently.

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The Light of Reason
Arthur Silber

So now Newsweek has retracted its story about religious desecration at Guantanamo

The speed and the depth of Newsweek’s climbdown on this story is deeply disheartening. And it shows that there is a danger that is perhaps even greater than the profound danger that outright censorship represents: self-censorship by the media, on every story of importance and across the board. In fact, it is this kind of self-censorship that we have been seeing during most of the Bush administration’s time in office: a reluctance to question authority too much, and beyond a certain point.

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The New York Times
Staying What Course?
Published: May 16, 2005

Is there any point, now that November’s election is behind us, in revisiting the history of the Iraq war? Yes: any path out of the quagmire will be blocked by people who call their opponents weak on national security, and portray themselves as tough guys who will keep America safe. So it’s important to understand how the tough guys made America weak.

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The Chicago Tribune finally deigns to mention “The Memo”:

British memo reopens war claim
Leaked briefing says U.S. intelligence facts `fixed’ around policy
By Stephen J. Hedges and Mark Silva
Washington Bureau
Published May 17, 2005

WASHINGTON — A British official’s report that the Bush administration appeared intent on invading Iraq long before it acknowledged as much or sought Congress’ approval–and that it “fixed” intelligence to fit its intention–has caused a stir in Britain.

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The Bush administration doesn’t hold itself to the same standard it wants CBS, Newsweek, and The New York Times to follow.

Big Time Patriot
Will George Bush issue apology for poorly sourced reporting?

”I applaud the Pakistani government for their strong cooperation in the war on terror. I applaud them for acting on solid intelligence and bringing this man to justice,” Bush said.

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Media Matters for America
An open letter to The New York Times

As a media watchdog, we believe self-examination by news organizations is always useful, so we welcomed the arrival of The New York Times’ recent report, “Preserving Our Readers’ Trust.” Because a democracy cannot operate without an independent, critical, and responsible press, it is incumbent on news organizations to continually assess their own performance to see if they are fulfilling their obligations to the public.

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Posted to the web on Monday May 16, 2005 at 2:11 PM EST

Do not publish anything critical of the Supreme Leader or any of his minions!

Washington Post
Report Critical of Rumsfeld Is Pulled After DOD Protest
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 16, 2005; Page A05

A government commission studying overseas military bases sent Congress a report that included criticism of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s strategy, then removed the document from the commission Web site after the Pentagon complained that it divulged classified information.

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