Monday, May 16, 2005

start the riot

there was rioting all over the middle east this weekend... massive riots with people dead and more people injured. things pretty much suck in afghanistan... remember them, that place we "freed" a couple years ago and promptly forgot about when it was time to bomb iraq?

well certain people in the right wing, even a few in the us govt, want to blame all those riots on newsweek, for mentioning in one sentence in a recent story that interrogators in guantanamo bay had desecrated copies of the koran, even attempting to throw korans into a toilet.

now, even the US state dept has said this is probably not true, and that "rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else." but that sure won't stop the smear, as the right wing starts tripping over itself in an attempt to demonize newsweek for daring to publish what is most likely a true fact simply because it's an inconvenient one.

the very idea seems absurd on its face: tens of thousands of people in multiple countries are violently rioting... because of one sentence printed by newsweek? as though newsweek is popular reading in the middle east.

it all seems so ridiculous that you would think nobody would accept such a silly proposition without demanding some kind of evidence, but if you thought that then you probably haven't been paying attention to how the corporate media works these days. right-wing pundits, bloggers, and even major media media outlets bought the lie without hesitation, and now the meme is out there that newsweek now has blood on its hands.

newsweek a non-retraction retraction, where they apologize for the possibility of a mistake, though no actual mistake appears to have been made. allegations about koran-flushing have been all over the place for many months. all newsweek did was repeat an already-public allegation. if any "error" was made at all, it was simply that newsweek's source can no longer verify exactly where he read about all that koran-flushing.

update: talkleft has lots more past citations of koran-flushing. tons of 'em.

and sploid points out that the protests actually started three weeks ago when US forces accidentally killed 7 afghans and wounded 8. the newsweek nonstory, at worst, simply fueled protests that were already raging.

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