Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Can you really trust the news?

Newsweek posted a story a couple of weeks ago about the desecration of the Quran (by US military investigators) at Gauntanemo Bay (Cuba). The story sparked off protests and riots in many Muslim countries. According to the The Guardian:
In Afghanistan at least 17 people died and more than 100 were injured in the worst street violence the country has seen since US troops ousted the Taliban in 2001.
Newsweek then apologised for the post yesterday . Newsweek reported that the story was based on a defense source that has been credible in the past. This time he got it wrong. While Newsweek did apologise, they are standing behind the story and not retracting anything.
But in an interview, the Newsweek editor, Mark Whitaker, mounted a robust defence of his staff, insisting the magazine would not make any retraction, that it did nothing "professionally wrong", and that nobody at the title would be disciplined over the report.

We're not retracting anything. We don't know what the ultimate facts are.
It'll be interesting to see where the investigation goes now. MediaChannel.org, a media watch group, says that Newsweek got it right and cites various reports about the abuse in this article.

After all the scandals that have plagued journalism lately, I'm not sure whether any news report (from any media source) should be completely trusted. Read stuff, be informed, but also leave room for the possibility that it might not be correct.

The worst part of all this is that people were killed over a news report. Any way you look at that, it's shame.


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