Roger L. Simon

More on Newsweek's Bloody Shirt

Austin Bay is calling it “The Press’ Abu Ghraib“. And now even The Huffington Post is getting on the band wagon.

BTW, I may seem to be taking this lightly, but there is a strong argument to be made that this is more serious than Rathergate. This is journalism at its most insidious and dangerous. Newsweek may end up having to fire some of its editorial staff, as well as the reporters involved. I watched their Washington bureau chief Dan Klaidman on the Geraldo Show tonight and he looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights. His answers were weak and evasive. How strange and almost willfully unaware it is that they do not realize, after all this time, the obvious truth about dealing with a crisis – get out front with complete honesty and total transparency, not just a half-hearted semi-apology. But perhaps they don’t understand what being transparent is anymore. That is the behavior of a nomenklatura. And like the more famous nomenklatura, some day we may look up and find they are not there.

UPDATE: The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, himself obviously a member of that clase media, does triple hand stands and double contortions in the Monday morning WaPo to appear somewhat even-handed or even mitigating in a situation that is a disaster for the parent company as well. (As I’m sure most of you know, the Washington Post owns Newsweek.) Still the truth leaks out in some mighty peculiar quotes from Michael Isikoff, the co-author of the story, who says:

“Obviously we all feel horrible about what flowed from this, but it’s important to remember there was absolutely no lapse in journalistic standards here,” he said. “We relied on sources we had every reason to trust and gave the Pentagon ample opportunity to comment. . . . We’re going to continue to investigate what remains a very murky situation.” [ellipsis Kurtz’s]

Well, I don’t know how “horrible” Isikoff feels, but I’m sure he’s having second thoughts in the sense of that old LA Weekly cartoon, “Nuclear War?!… There goes my career!” But if that’s his idea of “no lapse in journalistic standards,” he would have fit right in writing apologies for Beria in Pravda. And as for the issue of the Pentagon not commenting, consider this. Newsweek sends you an article saying that an “anonymous source” has seen US soldiers in Guantanamo dumping the Koran down a toilet. You never heard anything about this but Newsweek claims to have a source who has. And you do not know who the source is and you don’t know what he’s seen. Do you deny or do you wait? I would wait, because (unlike Newsweek obviously) I do not want to be caught in a lie.

No, Mr. Isikoff, that dog won’t hunt and you know it.. As for me, I know what to stuff down my toilet – Newsweek. [I thought you said it wouldn’t fit.-ed I meant my outhouse.]