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Last week The Washington Post, jumping on the "defending Newsweek" bandwagon and supporting the magazine's right to publish unsubstantiated reports of Koran abuse in American prisons, provided a laundry list of similar allegations. Most were from prisoners, but one was from former Army interpreter Eric Saar:
Erik Saar, a former Army translator at Guantanamo Bay who has written a book about mistreatment of detainees at the military prison, said in interviews and in his book that he never saw a Koran flushed in a toilet but that guards routinely ignored prisoners' sensitivities by tossing it on the ground while searching their cells.Unfortunately, the author quickly learned that if you're going to quote a book you might want to read it first. Here's today's correction:
A May 18 article incorrectly stated that former Army translator Erik Saar said in previous media interviews that guards at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, routinely tossed Korans on the ground. Saar has said there were "chronic problems" with the way military guards handled the Koran and failures to follow military procedures for respectfully handling the Muslim holy book when guards inspected cells, but he did not say that guards routinely tossed copies of the book.In the immortal words of Emily Latella, "nevermind". Don't worry though, we're sure the original WaPo claims will continue to be heavily quoted as "definitive". Corrections are notoriously hard to find, and this one's no exception.
I'm at a loss as to why so many news outlets are so eager to get this story so wrong. Couldn't some minimum level of research be done prior to publishing something that's now demonstrably inflammatory? Aren't there some kind of "journalistic standards" for this sort of thing? I've heard that there are, but never having seen them I'll refrain from speculating as to whether they've been violated here.
More on Saar's book, "co-authored" with reporter Viveca Novak here.
Update: The author of this UPI report in Washington Times read the book more slowly and carefully:
In his recent book "Inside the Wire," former Army interpreter Eric Saar noted that the issue of Korans at Camp Delta was so sensitive that only soldiers of the Muslim faith were allowed into cells at the onset of searches to handle them.Even the WaPo's "correction" sounds incredibly biased now. Pathetic.
"I'm at a loss as to why so many news outlets are so eager to get this story wrong."
I believe they all share the same objective of discrediting Bush and making the USA look bad. A lie repeated often enough becomes the accepted truth. Examples of this are; the U.S. Government puposefuly spreading smallpox to Indians by handing out deseased blankets, and, more recently, the military targeting journalists in Iraq. Their credibility and reputation are secondary if they can accomplish their objective. Besides, having already been exposed as America-hating partisan frauds what do they have to lose?Posted by Bindare at May 22, 2005 01:04 PM
"I'm at a loss as to why so many news outlets are so eager to get this story so wrong."
20 years ago, the NY Times and the Wash Post controlled US politics. Now the Big Players are USA Today and Wallstreet Journal.
Posted by Soldier's Dad at May 22, 2005 02:12 PM
USA TODAY, WASHINGTON FRI M DLY 2,612,946
USA TODAY, WASHINGTON M (M-THU) DLY 2,199,052
WALL STREET JOURNAL, NEW YORK CITY (NEW YORK CO.) M (M-F) DLY 2,070,498
TIMES, NEW YORK CITY (NEW YORK CO.) SUN DLY 1,680,582
TIMES, LOS ANGELES (LOS ANGELES CO.) SUN DLY 1,253,849
TIMES, NEW YORK CITY (NEW YORK CO.) M (M-F) DLY 1,136,433
TIMES, NEW YORK CITY (NEW YORK CO.) SAT M DLY 1,047,574
WASHINGTON POST, WASHINGTON SUN DLY 1,000,565
TRIBUNE, CHICAGO (COOK CO.) SUN DLY 953,814
TIMES, LOS ANGELES (LOS ANGELES CO.) M (M-SAT) DLY 907,997
NEWS, NEW YORK CITY (NEW YORK CO.) SUN DLY 835,121
WASHINGTON POST, WASHINGTON M (M-F) DLY 751,871
Source - http://abcas3.accessabc.com
The company that owns the Washington Post is the same company that owns Newsweek. Of course the WP would try to help out Newsweek.Posted by warriorjason at May 22, 2005 06:57 PM
WHY DON'T THE ADMINISTRATION MAKE THIS POINT LOUD AND CLEAR WHEN IT COMES TO ANONYMOUS SOURCES,
"CONSIDER THE SOURCE." NAMES NOT ATTACHED TO A REPORT SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN ANY WEIGHT AS TO ITS CREDIBILITY. SO NOW WE ARE TO BELIEVE THAT THE U.S. MILITARY TOOK PICTURES OF SADDAM. YEAH, RIGHT! WHO'S TO SAY IT WASN'T A MEMBER OF HIS LEGAL TEAM?
The Sunday Oregonian pulled this same crap today with a story titled, "Guantanamo Reports give US a black eye in world". Get a load of the subtext... "More than Muslim poulations take umbrage at released prisoner's stories of torture and abuse of the Quran." The story does make brief mention of Newsweek's retraction, but goes on to treat it as established fact just the same.Posted by MrAtos at May 22, 2005 09:05 PM
Why do Iraqis line up time after time for police recruiting lines after they are blown up by suicide bombers? What's behind that? Surely that is as newsworthy as what a soldier thinks about Rumsfeld.
What tactics are the jihadis using? What about reports of drivers chained to the steering wheel, and drugs found to be fueling Fallujah fighters. Was any of that confirmed? Inquiring minds want to know.
What accomplishments (not just sacrifices and traumas) have occurred on the ground? What incredible feats have our soldiers performed that have not been covered or even documented? Surely they are just as much a part of the story as Abu Ghraib. Again, not asking for cheerleading, just balance.Posted by jordan at May 23, 2005 03:31 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(6) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)