Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Fighting words

Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet

KABUL, Afghanistan - Shouting “Death to America,” demonstrators angry over the alleged desecration of the Quran at Guantanamo Bay smashed car and shop windows and stoned a passing convoy of U.S. soldiers Wednesday in eastern Afghanistan. Police opened fire on the protesters, killing four and injuring at least 71. . . .

Mobs also attacked the Pakistani consulate along with the offices of two U.N. agencies and a Swedish relief organization. No foreigners were reported hurt and witnesses said police and government troops had restored order by early afternoon. . . .

Demonstrations began Tuesday, when protesters burned an effigy of President Bush over a report in Newsweek magazine that interrogators at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, placed Qurans on toilets to rattle suspects, and in at least one case “flushed a holy book down the toilet.”

Only it wasn't true.

In fact, it wasn't even close to true; but it was just another one of those stories that are "too good to fact check"...

Only this time people died.

Incitement to riot is a crime in most states; negating any first amendment protections that one might claim. The first amendment dosent protect this statement if newsweek knew, or should have known, that their story would cause, or had a substantial likliehood of causing harm; unless they had absolute proof it was factual.

Since they obviously did not,( they made no attempt to check the story) and in fact I'd be willing to bet there are memos floating around saying "Hmmm, I bet this pisses the ragheads off right good"; then newsweek could in theory be in deep shit over this. Certainly they SHOULD be in deep shit.

Of course the liklihood that this will occur is ... miniscule

Almost universally, "professional journalists" believe themselves to be above the law. They have no qualms publishing rumor as truth; inuendo and lies as fact and "reasoned opinion". They have written the laws and so called ethical standards to the point that it is basically impossible to sue them; unless you can prove deliberate malice and deception.

Well I don't know about you, but I've been sensing a hell of a lot of mailce; and I think the deception is self evident.

Worse still, major publications; since the late 60's in fact; have had no qualms about publishing classified information. Information that if I as a private citizen even spoke about to the wrong people would result in my imprisonment.

Recently they have been pushing hard for creating or strengthening"journalist shield" laws, which currently exist in about 2/3 of all states, but not federally. These laws would give journalists almsot total immunity against prosecution because of their stories; as well as the absolute right to refuse to produce witnesses, documents, or sources; even if those sources commited felonies in giving journalists information.

Effectively they have made themselves into a special protected upperclass, and yet they seek to deny those same protections to bloggers, who they almost universally decry as "out of control, biased, and unprofessional".

The next time I see a movie review that turns into an anti-Bush diatribe, try to tell me again how professional and unbiased you are?

You've had your chance to speak, and you've laid out fightin' words; now it's time for the peoples response...