Carol Platt Liebau

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Here's an interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal about the Newsweek debacle. It makes some good points about the "adversary culture" of the press (at least I think they're good points because I made some of the same observations yesterday while sitting in for Hugh Hewitt).

There is one area of disagreement with the piece, however, and that's with its subheadline: "Newsweek's explosive allegation was no 'honest mistake.'"

In fact, I believe it was an honest mistake -- and that's what's all the more frightening. No one sat around at HQ and thought "how can we cripple the war effort?" Instead, the whole thing was as close as one gets to an honest, actual reflection of MSM assumptions and operating practices, combining (1) sloppy sourcing; (2) overheated reporting; and (3) the assumption that hte US military is, most definitely, not a source of any good.

Certainly, Newsweek didn't set out, deliberately and dishonestly, to misreport the story. The sad thing is that it didn't need to -- given its worldview and SOP, that's all you needed for a piece of poorly sourced, inaccurate, anti-military and yes, anti-American propaganda to slip into Newsweek's pages, to the detriment both of our troops in harm's way and of the War on Terror.

Hope they're proud.


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