RUSH: Let’s head on now to the ongoing Newsweek story. This is a Washington Post story. The Washington Post has, at least as far as I count, three stories today on this. The first one I want to call your attention to by Howard Kurtz, our old buddy who is their media analyst there. “The debate over a retracted Newsweek report broadened yesterday into an argument about media and government ethics.” What debate? What debate is there that’s going on? Newsweek retracted a story. Would somebody tell me what there is to debate? Well, Howard says that the debate here is about, “media, government, ethics, the White House urging the magazine to help undo the harm to American interests and critics accusing the administration of trying to deflect attention from its own deceptions.
Lawmakers of both parties entered the fray on Capitol Hill. Fortney ‘Pete’ Stark, California, charged the White House with hypocrisy. He said, ‘The administration is chastising Newsweek for a story that contained a fact that turned out to be false. This is the same administration that lied to the Congress the United Nations the American people by fabricating reasons to send us to war.'” We’re back to that again. Bush lied? Bush lied. Bush didn’t lie about anything! I thought, you know, Newsweek got it wrong. Bush got it wrong. It’s pap. It’s just absolutely crazy.
Media Research Center has put together a little summary: Reporters Come to Newsweek’s Defense, Suggest the Story is Really True. “Following the ‘fake but accurate’ theme espoused by some to defend CBS’s use of forged memos to get President Bush, in the wake of Newsweek’s retraction late Monday of its claim that a military report would include the charge that a guard at Guantanamo flushed a Koran down a toilet, journalistic colleagues came to Newsweek’s defense. CNN’s Anderson Cooper proposed: ‘Is it beyond the realm of possibility that a tactic like this was used?’ CBS and ABC passed along allegations from prisoners. Richard Roth of CBS recalled: ‘Detainees released in 2003 came home claiming American guards had routinely provoked them by sitting on the Koran, or putting pages in a toilet.’ ABC’s Martha Raddatz argued: ‘The Newsweek article was not the first time U.S. personnel have been accused of desecrating the Koran.
Last year, this British detainee released from Guantanamo said guards ‘would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it.’ Later, on Monday’s Nightline, John Donvan suggested: ‘What really goes on at Guantanamo Bay, no one really knows.’ Anchor Chris Bury asked that ‘given the other abuses’ of prisoners by the U.S., ‘does Newsweek deserve all the blame, assuming that its story was incorrect?'” They retracted it, for crying out loud! What is this assuming it’s incorrect? So now the media circling the wagons. “Hey this stuff happens anyway. We know it happens because the detainees tell us it happens, it happens. So maybe Newsweek was wrong but maybe they’re right.”
“Bob Schieffer, matching the view of those hostile to the U.S. in the Muslim world, painted Newsweek’s retraction as coming only after ‘pressure’ from the White House. ‘Under pressure from the White House,’ Schieffer teased Monday’s CBS Evening News, ‘Newsweek today retracted a story that led to deadly rioting in Afghanistan.’ Schieffer introduced his lead story by outlining how ‘over the weekend, Newsweek said its source could no longer confirm the report, and the magazine’s editor apologized. Then, late today, under pressure from the White House, Newsweek retracted the entire story.'” The White House made ’em do it. Well, hey, you know, Bob, if that’s true, why aren’t you mad at music for buckling to the pressure? Why aren’t you mad at Newsweek? What are you beating up on the administration for? None of this makes any sense.
So let’s go to the audio sound bites, shall we? Those are just a couple of examples. Well, wait. I’ll give you two more. Washington Post, Carol Leonnig, I think is how she pronounces her name. (snide, superior, elitist media columnist impression) “Desecration of Koran Had Been Reported Before — Newsweek magazine’s now-retracted story that a military guard at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet has sparked angry denunciations by the White House and the Pentagon, which have linked the article to Muslim riots and deaths abroad. But American and international media have widely reported similar allegations from detainees and others of desecration of the Muslim holy book for more than two years.
The difference is, of course, that Isikoff and Newsweek claim the allegation was confirmed in a Pentagon review,” but that they didn’t produce the report, they just had one source. That’s what they claim. They claim the government confirmed this; not a bunch of detainees with a bias. So it’s apparent to me, folks, the media they think we’re as stupid as they come — as they come to the defense of the indefensible. And that’s basically what’s happening here. They’re trying to defend the indefensible.
Try this from Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post: “Blaming the Messenger — ‘It’s appalling that this story got out there,’ said the secretary of state. ‘Shaky from the very get-go,’ thundered the White House spokesman. ‘We’ve not found any wrongdoing on the part of U.S. servicemembers,’ declared the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Outrage filled the airwaves this week as administration officials took turns denouncing Newsweek’s brief report of alleged desecrations of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. But among the many declarations of shock, shock, shock, among the multiple expressions of self-righteous horror at the riots the story sparked in Afghanistan, only one reflected any hint of self-reflection, any sense that this story might be more than just another mainstream media screw-up. ‘People need to be very careful about what they say,’ said the secretary of defense, “just as they need to be very careful about what they do.'” So now they’re trying to turn the tables and blame the messenger. This is all Newsweek’s fault. (sniveling liberal journalist impression) “They’re just the messenger! After all we’ve heard this story countless times.”
Newsweek retracted its story. “We don’t care about that. We all know the story is true. If not in this instance, in other instances, and we’ve heard it.” These people are above criticism in their own minds. They can’t handle it. They don’t think they deserve it. They think that it is just unconscionable that anybody would criticize them. They have a protected perch. They get to destroy lives; they get to criticize people. They get to do all these things, but you can’t turn it around to them. You turn it around on them, and they are outraged. Let’s go to the audio sound bites now. We have three. This is from the yesterday’s White House press briefing. Terry Moran of ABC said, “Scott, (meaning McClellan, the spokesman) you said that the retraction by Newsweek magazine of its story is a good first step. What else does the president want this American magazine to do?”
MCCLELLAN: People did lose their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged. There is lasting damage to our image because of this report, and we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region, and I think Newsweek can do that by talking about the way they got this wrong and pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are when it comes to the handling of the holy Koran.
The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran was handled, or is handled with the utmost care and respect — and I think it would help to point that out, because some have taken this report. Those that are opposed the United States, some have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence.
RUSH: So this continues. This next question from Terry Moran is what he followed up with.
MORAN: With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it’s appropriate for you at that podium speaking with the authority of the president of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?
MCCLELLAN: I’m not telling them, I’m saying that we would encourage them to help —
MORAN: (interrupting) You’re pressuring them.
MCCLELLAN: No, I’m saying we would encourage them. This report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad and Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. You know, I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting this story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report.
RUSH: Now, I have a question. Is there something intellectually to disagree with there? All right, so here you have Newsweek which runs this story that they retract that a Koran was flushed down the toilet. Newsweek retracts it. The people over in the Middle East that are affected by this in Afghanistan, say. “We don’t belieeeeeve the Newsweek retraction. We don’t belieeeeeve it.” Meanwhile, the US has published — I’ve seen them all over the place; I haven’t bothered to print them out, but — these guidelines on how to deal with the Koran. They make me mad, quite honestly. We’re not running a prison. It sounds like we’re running Romper Room here! I mean we’ve never fought a war this way. We’ve never fought a war with the federal judiciary comes in and tells the president what he can and can’t do with prisoners of war. Now we got all these requirements. You can’t do this to the Koran, can’t do that to the Koran.
They can blow us up any time they want; we cannot take measures necessary to find out who did it and how to prevent it from happening again — and so McClellan says, “We hope they would do a little bit more than just retract this. Our image has been damaged.” “Who are you to be the editor of Newsweek? I mean, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it’s appropriate for you, speaking with the authority of the president, to tell an American magazine what they should print?” “I’m not telling them what they should print.” What have I always said about the media? The media is the one business where the consumer is always wrong. Whatever the consumer thinks, consumer is an idiot, consumer doesn’t know diddly-squat. “Who are you to tell us what to do?”
There’s a reason these people are losing audience, readers, circulation, viewers, what have it and it’s embodied there. But this whole line continued. This is Elisabeth Bumiller now, of the New York Times, and she is outraged by this. She’s just outraged that McClellan suggesting Newsweek do a little bit more. She won’t let McClellan answer her question. She gets nasty. Listen to this.
BUMILLER: What specifically are you asking Newsweek to do? I mean, to follow up on Terry’s question. Are you saying they should write a story? Are you going that far? How else can Newsweek, you know, satisfy you here?
MCCLELLAN: Well, as I said, we would encourage them to continue working diligently to help repair the damage that has been done because of this —
BUMILLER: Write a story?
MCCLELLAN: — because of this report. I think Newsweek is going to be in the best position to determine how to achieve that and there are ways that I’ve pointed out that they can help repair the damage. One way is to point out what the policies and practices of our United States military are. Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the holy Koran is treated with care —
BUMILLER: (scoffs) You want them to write a story about how great the American military is? Is that what you are you’re saying here?
MCCLELLAN: Elisabeth, let me finish my sentence.
BUMILLER: (Laughs mockingly) I know what – I know how it ends.
MCCLELLAN: No, I’m coming to your question, and you’re not letting me have a chance to respond. Our military goes out of the way to handle the Koran with care and respect. There are policies and practices there are in place. This report was wrong. Newsweek itself stated that it was wrong, and so now I think it’s incumbent and responsible for Newsweek to do their part to help repair the damage.
RUSH: “So what are you doing? Are you suggesting that we run a story about how great the American military is,” as though that’s such a foreign concept? “What do you want us to do, write a story about how great the US military is?” No, how about just writing a story that does detail how to Koran is treated? At any rate, let me tell you what’s going on here, folks. I mentioned this during the campaign, and this is a good time to review this. I found it very strange during the campaign that Democrats would nominate a hero from the Vietnam War — “hero” in quotes. That would be John Kerry if you’ve forgotten. He served in Vietnam, by the way. I found this strange because they hate that war.
These media types, the sixties types, they came of age in the Vietnam War, and as Howard Fineman has written, that’s when the press actually became another political party — not just an institution, not just an organization, not just a line of work. They became a political party because they saw the power that they had. They had the ability to reverse public opinion on a war, and then they got Richard Nixon out of office so they really got swelled heads, and now everything must assume the same shape and form as Vietnam and Watergate. So Iraq is Vietnam, and they automatically assume the template is: It’s unjust, it is immoral.
It is ignoble. It can’t be worth fighting for. There’s nothing here of any value. Bush lied, blah, blah, blah, and so the template is: America is wrong.
America is evil. America deserves to lose, and we’re going to find evidence to prove what we already know to be true even though we can’t prove it. And so they go out and they assume that all these stories the detainees are telling are true because they believe the American military is bad, and that America doesn’t deserve to win this war because it’s unjust, ignoble, and just evil — and you look at Bush and the National Guard. That’s the new Watergate. They just tried and tried and tried and tried.
So the way to understand these people in this Newsweek instance and everything else is just understand the way they’re looking at events today is shaped by two events that shaped them: the Vietnam War and Watergate, and as far as Republicans are concerned, they’re all Richard Nixons and all wars are Vietnam. The US doesn’t deserve to be in them; we don’t deserve to win them. In fact, we deserve to lose. We are immoral. We are unjust. We don’t deserve it. It’s unfair. We’re at superpower. These little people don’t have a chance. All of our injuries are deserved, blah, blah, blah. You can go on and on; you can fill in the blanks yourself. But that’s the template that forms the basis on which a Newsweek article like this or a little story gets written.
RUSH: (A-Ha bumper music) As part of the template to understand, you’ve gotta realize this. Who are the media citing in their stories today? “Oh, well, we know this happened, while the detainees come out and say so.” So notice, the militant Islamist detainees from the group of people that wishes the United States to basically cease to exist, they never lie. They never lie. US troops, US government, always lies. The detainees can’t possibly be lying. Why, if they say the Koran was flushed down a toilet, by God it was. Whether they can prove it or not it was because the template is the US is evil, unjust, ignoble and doesn’t deserve to be in this war and doesn’t deserve to win it; they deserve to lose it. If you just understand that, all of this will make sense to you — in a perverted way — but it will make sense.