Monday, May 16, 2005

Insert flushing joke here

Okay, by now, I'm sure most of you have heard about the now discredited Qu'ran flushing story. If not, a quick recap: Newsweek reported that, during an interrogation of suspects at Gitmo, some military personnel flushed a Qu'ran down the toilet. The outrage sparked by the story has led to riots in the muslim world which have killed several people. Investigation of the claims has shown them to be false, and Newsweek has apologized for the incident and backed away from the story.

Too little, too late, I suppose, for those who were killed. But there's a lot to be upset about in this story.

1) Journalistic integrity. "Hey, why bother investigating a potentially inflammatory story? Let's just print it, regardless how shady the sources, and the consequences be damned!" Has the traditional media gone completely insane?

2) The culture of violence. I know a lot of muslims really hate the US for reasons that are not always logical or compelling. But there is a broader culture out there that seems to think that violence is a reasonable response to insults and offense. Remember the reported anti-Japan "protests" in China? Those were supposedly over textbooks. What do we do to counter such a bizarre worldview?

3) Overreacting, maybe? Seriously, there are worse things they could be doing to the prisoners in Gitmo than desecrating Qu'rans in front of them. Psychological stress is an important part of the interrogation process. People who consider the Qu'ran holy and protesting over this is one thing, but those in the US who don't who protest over this might be in severe danger of hypocrisy. A crucifix in a jar of urine is an NEA funded piece of artwork. But a Qu'ran in a toilet? "Barbaric!"

I don't know what else to say about this that others haven't already said. People at Newsweek need to be fired. Their irresponsible reporting has led to deaths that shouldn't have happened. Are there no consequences for such actions, anymore?

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