AFGHANISTAN: Taliban Get a Boost from American Media
May 12, 2005: Anti-American protests have spread to the capital, sparked by an unsubstantiated accusations by a U.S. newsmagazine. Newsweek magazine published a hearsay item about American interrogators at Guantanamo desecrating the Koran to intimidate suspected terrorists. The Taliban has been trying to spread similar stories, but have no credibility. American media has more clout, even if the story in question is basically a rumor. The pro-Taliban groups will push this story as much as they can, but the Taliban support is basically restricted to some Pushtun tribes in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
The press is exquisitely sensitive to the risks posed by, say, racial insensitivity in reporting. It's too bad they're not so careful with regard to things that might get American troops killed.