Friday, May 27, 2005

In which blogging camp do I fall?

I've been making a to-do about the flushing of a Koran down the toilet by guards at Gitmo. Actually, I've not been making a to-do about the flushing of the Koran down the toilet but rather the flushing of truth and transparency down the toilet by various government officials.

From the Washington Post's website this morning:

So the newly declassified FBI documents showing allegations of U.S. guards abusing the Koran have made a huge splash in the media, right?

Uh, no.

There were only a few mentions of it on television yesterday. The big stories were "American Idol," Paris Hilton's soft-porn burger ad, Jacko, a guy threatening to jump off a bridge, the allegedly wounded Zarqawi, the Bush-Abbas sitdown, Bolton and more filibuster fallout. The Koran ? That was last week's obsession.

In other words, "Magazine Retracts X" is apparently a more compelling story line for TV than "Is X True?"

The New York Times and Washington Post (which owns Newsweek) fronted the new Koran allegations, but that was about it for prominent play.

Now I don't contend that these FBI papers, unearthed in an ACLU lawsuit, get Newsweek off the hook. Newsweek made a bad mistake. But you'd think they would be getting more attention.

Let's parse the wording. Newsweek erred by saying in its ill-fated Periscope item that a forthcoming military investigative report would cite an allegation of the Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo. That was wrong, and Newsweek's anonymous source backed off.

The FBI documents don't prove that these Koran incidents took place--indeed, it may be impossible to prove one way or the other. The papers simply say that detainees have alleged to FBI interrogators about a dozen instances of defiling the Koran since 2002 (some of which have been written about before). It's possible that the detainees are all making this stuff up. It's also possible that Newsweek's source was onto something, but just confused about which document said what.

In any event, after the pummeling that Newsweek took, this would seem to be moderately important news. But it's not being treated that way, except by a few newspapers. And most of the crowing takes place among left-wing and moderate bloggers.

So, most of the crowing takes place among left-wing and moderate bloggers. Since I've been blogging about the situation, what's that make me? I knew I wasn't a conservative blogger; am a left-wing blogger or a moderate blogger?

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