Monday, May 16


As pointed out on Daily Kos, this blame-Newsweek theme that's being run with is an absurd smokescreen. We already knew from several sources, before the Newsweek allegation, that interrogators at Gitmo had disrespected the Koran and the religious practices of the Muslims detained there, most egregiously. So now Newsweek confesses that its source for the report isn't sure anymore exactly where he saw the confirmation of the allegations. He doesn't say he didn't see it at all. And mindful of Rathergate, they're backpedaling as fast as they can.

The flak reminds me of when Woodward and Bernstein, reporting on the Watergate scandal for WaPo, got their behinds kicked by the Nixonites and their media competitors for erroneously reporting that Hugh Sloan had named Haldeman to the Grand Jury as one of the inner circle of the Committee to Re-elect the President controlling the huge slush fund. When Haldeman denied having told that to the Grand Jury, Woodstein went back and asked him, what did we get wrong about the story? Sloan told them, I never told you I named him to the Grand Jury. I told you I WOULD HAVE named him to the Grand Jury. But they didn't ask.

In other words, the essence of the story was solid. Haldeman, among others, DID control the slush fund, and he was later indicted, convicted and served time. Just as in Rathergate, the story was patently true. It was the sourcing that was troublesome.

In the old Woodstein glory days, editor Ben Bradlee insisted on at least two sources confirming the same reporting. This practice of relying on a single anonymous source is irresponsible and a career-breaker. And lazy journalists after a scoop are going to keep getting reamed for the practice. But in the Newsweek case, I don't get why they didn't do a little research and include those who had already gone on the record with the same allegations so they could avoid the single-source charge. Are they even lazier than we think?


Post a Comment

<< Home