Monday, May 16, 2005
The editor of Newsweek has retracted and issued an apology for a story published in the magazine saying US integerators in Guantanamo Bay had desecrated copies of the Qur'an by flushing pages down the toilet and stamping on it. This report was then reprinted in the Arab press leading to riots and at least 17 deaths. Part of his excuse is that "other major news organizations had aired charges of Qur'an desecration". Thats not really a good enough excuse. In todays world of 24 hour Breaking News, the fact that other news stations report a story should not be taken as proof of the stories validity. TV news stations are in a ratings war, they need sensational headlines and stories to grab the viewers away from their soap operas. The rush to be the first to broadcast a big story means that they cant help but get some details wrong from time to time. A respectiable printed news outlet like Newsweek should know better and tale the time to think more carefully about what the reaction to printing unconfirmed might be.