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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The 24 Hour Spin-Cycle

I'm glad I chose to sit one news-cycle out on this Newsweek story, because it's been interesting to watch it develop. It's a textbook case of how spin evolves in the age of blogs and 24-hour news channels. Lets review:

As everyone who doesn't get their news exclusively from Vanity Fair knows by now, Newsweek published an article about soldiers at Guantanamo Bay flushing the Koran during interrogations. The story sparked protests in Afghanistan that left 17+ dead. Yesterday the magazine announced they "might" have been wrong, today they formally retracted it. Rather than face the consequences of putting Bush-bashing ahead of responsible journalism, the Left began to spin furiously.

Take One: Richard Bradley, who's written for fine publications like "Mother Jones", came out of the gate early with this, a weak modification of the "Don't blame the messenger" defense :
"Predictably, the backlash has begun. 'People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said,' Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DeRita said, apparently referring to Newsweek's source. No, people are dead because angry Muslims rioted, not because of something printed in a free press in a democracy where, thankfully, that kind of reaction to a magazine article is frowned upon rather than encouraged."
The stupidity of this argument is too deep to explore, so I'll let it stand on its own. Needless to say we haven't heard that one repeated much.

Take Two: The Daily Kos posted this deep thought from Arthur Silber:

"Censorship is what they're after, and don't let them tell you otherwise. "

Censorship....on a story that's already been printed....that has already been questioned by the magazine that published it...I just, don't even know how to respond to that. Another dud.

Take Three: This morning the blogsphere seems to have settled on a final product: the old, reliable "Yea but....Bush Lied!" defense. This is the genius of the anti-war crowd. Since the Left takes as gospel truth that Bush lied about...everything ever, any lie or distortion from their side can be instantly excused (even if "People Died").

And just like that the news-cycle has passed us by. The spin has been set, the lines have been drawn, and no one has to think about 17 grieving families.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


My personal favorite subcategory of the “censorship” theory, is the allegation that after the story was printed, either Bush or Rove called Newsweek and demanded that Newsweek retract the story. And Newsweek, facing some type of threat or blackmail, was forced to comply. This theory is offered, presumably, with a straight face.

5/17/2005 09:56:00 AM  

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