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.

Read more.

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.

Read more.


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.

Read more.

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.

Read more.


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.

Read more.

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.

Read more.

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.

Read more.

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.

Read more.

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.

Read more.

Steve Freeman's troubles with

Steve Freeman wrote the following to Oliver Dawshed, Barry at, and me:

Oliver: This is a terrific letter. Thanks for writing it. (I’m not sure what is going on at USVotes; i’ve been on a trip the past week, and am just now sorting through 600 emails.

Mark, Barry: Thanks for spreading the word. A couple other points you might want to know about on this issue:

* They delayed by a full week publication of my response to Baker’s first article, which directly criticized me. Their reason: “Because of the assertions Freeman makes we needed to do some research before deciding to publish it.”

* I inquired, through my agent, about the ethics involved in Baker not even contacting me before publishing the article: “As for Baker contacting Freeman first, his unnamed source is highly credible.”

* After Baker issued his “rebuttal” of my response, Congressman John Conyers, who was also criticized in Baker’s two articles, wrote a response. Tom Paine refused to print it.

Ironic that we need Tom Paine-style methods to combat misinformation.

— Steve

Antonia Zerbisias' new blog

Dear Friends and Family and Enemies whom I like anyway …

Apologies for the group email but … Well, it looks like the [Toronto] Star is taking a chance, on me! It’s giving me it’s very first real-ish blog — short for weblog, or online diary — starting on Monday. It will be about the media, but you know me. Media is just a point of departure.

Here’s the URL: I hope you all click on it, lots. I also hope you find reason to hang around. If you plan to publicly flame me, forget about it. The comments will be turned off, but not because I wanted it that way. The Star just can’t deal with the 24/7 moderating and the likely lawsuits. After all, Canada has very onerous libel laws.


P.S. This comes from my regular work email at Comments on the blog will be addressed to

P.P.S. For all you bloggers, I will be setting up a blogroll as soon as I figure out how.

Now Tom Ridge better check his bed for horses' heads

New from DIRELAND, May 11, 2005

Tom Ridge, Bush’s former Homeland Security czar, let the cat out of thebag — he opposed many of the heightened terrorism alerts, but was over-ruled by the Bushies, USA Today reports today. It’s clear what this means (as if we didn’t know it already): the Bush White House ratcheted up the terrorism warnings — on evidence Ridge considered incredibly flimsy — to create a climate of fear in preparation for Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Read more.

"We've just got to continue to spread–"

From Walter Miale:

Q: Mr. President, you are a transformational, they call it, and promoting democracy in the world is a very ambitious goal; and achieve peace, changing the world, and it’s also acknowledging Europe. But such a far-reaching idealism can also easily lead to moral inconsistencies that risk to undermine your credibility. For
instance, how does the way detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being handled, how does that relate to your promotion of democracy and the rule of law?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. That, and, for example, the pictures people saw about the prison — prison abuse is different from the detainees in Guantanamo. We’re working our way forward, so that they — and our courts, by the way, are adjudicating this. It is a clear, transparent review of the decision I made by the courts, so everybody can see it. And they’re being argued in the courts as we
speak. People are being treated humanely. They were illegal non-combatants, however, and I made the decision they did not pertain to the Geneva Convention. They were not — these were terrorists. Obviously, we’ve looked at Iraq differently.

I can understand people being concerned about prison abuse when they see the pictures out of Abu Ghraib, and it made Americans universally sick, because the actions of those folks didn’t represent the heart and soul of America, didn’t represent the sentiments of the American people. And I am an idealistic person, because I believe in what is possible. I believe that freedom is universal, and I believe, if given a chance, people will seize the moment.

But I’m also a realistic person, and I’m realistic enough to know that images on TV have sullied our country’s image, at times. And we’ve just got to continue to spread — tell people the truth, be open about the mistakes of Abu Ghraib, hold people to account.

Support Christine Cegelis, Henry Hyde's nemesis!

From Carolyn Kay:

Friends, the Democratic Party power structure is at it again, doing their best to suppress the grassroots.

Christine Cegelis, in 2004, won 44% of the vote against the formidable Henry Hyde with a budget of only $140,000. It may well be that her success in that race convinced Henry to finally announce his resignation.

So did the Democratic Party rush to get behind Christine when she announced she’ll run again in Hyde’s district (Illinois Sixth) in 2006? Absolutely not! The Party is encouraging rich white males to run against her in the primary, thereby drying up potential early contributions in the district–donations that could give her an early jump in the race.

This is a woman who can win. And imagine the bragging rights! PROGRESSIVE WOMAN WINS HENRY HYDE’S CONGRESSIONAL SEAT!

As radio talk show host and former U.S. Senate candidate Nancy Skinner once asked, do we really want to be in the situation again where we run OUR boring white guy against THEIR boring white guy?


The best way to do that is to show financial support NOW for Christine Cegelis.

Here’s what you can do:

* Contribute as much as you possibly can–right now. Don’t wait, please.

* Send this message to as many people as you can, asking them to contribute and to pass the message on, as well.

* If you have a website and/or a mailing list, post a link to Christine’s contributions page, along with the text from this message.

* If you have a radio show, have Christine on as a guest. Her campaign manager is Pat Mogge,, 847-797-8317. Christine is an interesting guest with an interesting story, no matter which district or state you broadcast in.

We just can’t let the Party power structure keep kicking us in the teeth.

Disclaimer: I met with Christine Cegelis once, a few days ago. I do not work for her campaign. It just makes me angry to see a highly qualified candidate like her trampled in the mud by the Democratic Party.

Carolyn Kay

Philosophical question: If a Bush commits a crime and no one hears about it, has a crime really been committed?