Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Caught In Errors on Afghanistan, Newsweek Passes Off Major Story as Mere 'Analysis'
Newsweek/NewsBusters ^ | Mark Finkelstein

Posted on 10/20/2006 1:21:54 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest

Imagine you're a leading news magazine. You've published a major story claiming that Afghanistan is a brewing disaster in which Al-Qaeda can once again roam with impunity. So bad is the situation, say you, that for purposes of your article you've dubbed the country "Jihadistan."

Now comes the Pentagon, and in painstaking, point-by-point fashion, refutes so many of your article's assertions as to call its overall validity into question. How do you respond?

A. In a rigorous, systematic manner, you contest the Pentagon's arguments and prove that you were correct in the first place.

Or - if you're unable to do that because the Pentagon was indeed right;

B. You correct your original article, or offer the DoD a reasonable amount of space in your pages to make its case.

This of course is not a hypothetical. As I had written here, Newsweek did indeed publish in its international edition of October 2nd a major, 2200-word, story entitled The Rise of Jihadistan, painting a grim, back-to-square-one, portrait of Aghanistan as a largely safe haven for Al-Qaeda.

And the Pentagon did indeed respond with a detailed, point-by-point debunking of the Newsweek story. Here is just one example:

NEWSWEEK CLAIM: "Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they -- and Al Qaeda's leaders -- can operate freely. Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups now have a place from which to hatch the next 9/11."

PENTAGON RESPONSE: This assertion is contradicted within the same article by Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, Commander, Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan. He points out that al-Qaeda or its successors have nothing like the liberty that allowed them to plot September 11 in the open. He states, "They have no safe haven inside Afghanistan that if we find it, we will not strike against them." It is one thing for al-Qaeda remnants to operate within Afghanistan's borders while being vigorously pursued and attacked by Afghan, NATO, and Coalition forces -- as is happening now. It is quite another thing for a terrorist organization to have an entire nation where they can plan, train, and launch attacks with impunity -- as Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda did in Afghanistan before September 11. There is simply no comparison between the situation in Afghanistan when 9-11 was "hatched" to the situation today.

OK, back to Newsweek's response. Did they go for 'A,' or 'B'? As you might have guessed, Newsweek chose 'C': neither of the above.

As per a letter of October 11th from Newsweek to the Pentgon that this NewsBuster has obtained, a suddenly demure Newsweek now claims that its blockbuster article, presented as objective fact, was merely its "analysis" of the situation in Afghanistan. Newsweek doesn't even attempt to take on the Pentagon's systematic dismantling of its article. Nor will Newsweek agree to a correction or to making available any significant space to lay out the Pentagon case. Instead, while observing that the Pentagon is "free and welcome" to disagree with it [thanks!], Newsweek offers to publish a "concisely" written letter. Consider that by "concise" Newsweek likely means at most 200 words, whereas this NB item itself extends to over 620 .

So here we have a mainstay of the MSM that - when confronted with a serious challenge to its reporting on a matter of crucial national interest - attempts to downplay a major piece as mere "analysis." And rather than either replying seriously to the Pentagon's systematic refutation, or covering those arguments in its own pages, offers the Pentagon no more than the barest opportunity to respond.

Is this evidence of a news organization with a burning desire to get to the truth, or another lamentable example of drive-by journalism?

Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY. Webcasts and podcasts of Mark's award-winning TV show 'Right Angle' here. Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; drivebymedia; newsweek

1 posted on 10/20/2006 1:21:56 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Behind Liberal Lines; Miss Marple; an amused spectator; netmilsmom; Diogenesis; YaYa123; MEG33; ...

Newsweek/NewsBusters ping to Today show list.


2 posted on 10/20/2006 1:22:23 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

Oh this is good!


3 posted on 10/20/2006 1:24:06 PM PDT by Red6 (Weird thoughts -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

Wow.


4 posted on 10/20/2006 1:27:26 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

Remember when Spiro Agnew caused such a firestorm by referring to the media as "nattering nabobs of negativism"?

He was so right.


5 posted on 10/20/2006 1:27:43 PM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest; All
I think this is what pi$$e$ me off the most. The MSM concoct surveys and analysis pieces, which can be skewed any way they wish, and try to pass it off as objective research and analysis. I don't know how it can be done, but somehow the American public must hold these peoples' feet to the fire.
6 posted on 10/20/2006 1:29:45 PM PDT by econjack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest; pissant

Great piece by Finkelstein, he nailed it. Thanks for posting.


7 posted on 10/20/2006 1:29:49 PM PDT by jazusamo (DIANA IREY for Congress, PA 12th District: Retire murtha.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

any links to Newsweak's backtracking???


8 posted on 10/20/2006 1:30:42 PM PDT by God luvs America (When the silent majority speaks the earth trembles!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

I can't argue with you. Then again, I'm Finkelstein!


9 posted on 10/20/2006 1:31:35 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: God luvs America

I might post a link later. Nothing available at this moment.


10 posted on 10/20/2006 1:32:20 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

LOL! I guess that just goes to show how much of a newbie I am. I still think it's a great piece.


11 posted on 10/20/2006 1:34:06 PM PDT by jazusamo (DIANA IREY for Congress, PA 12th District: Retire murtha.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

NewsWeak Jihadi Propaganda.


12 posted on 10/20/2006 1:34:25 PM PDT by Echo Talon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest
I can't argue with you. Then again, I'm Finkelstein!

*I* am Spartacus.

13 posted on 10/20/2006 1:36:46 PM PDT by Lazamataz (Islam is a pathological disorder masquerading as a religion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

Ah, Newsweek, just another traitorous left-wing rag, destined for the ash heap of history along with the rest of the dinosaur media...


14 posted on 10/20/2006 1:38:24 PM PDT by piytar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: God luvs America

If you click on NewsBusters link above, and go to original NewsBusters item, you will find a clickable link for "letter."


15 posted on 10/20/2006 1:38:42 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

Oh but ok, cause their the MSM....they can do anything....

I'm starting to wonder how much work the CNN people did to create that filty thing they have been showing about our Troops dieing....


16 posted on 10/20/2006 1:47:24 PM PDT by HarleyLady27 (My ? to libs: "Do they ever shut up on your planet?" "Grow your own DOPE: Plant a LIB!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: econjack

somehow the American public must hold these peoples' feet to the fire.

Many in the American public are totally oblivious to the MSM's concoctions and lies. Many, many years of having a monopoly on news has brainwashed and dumbed-down a large portion of the American public.

17 posted on 10/20/2006 2:07:53 PM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

I don't think there is anyone on this forum who believes that Newspeak would EVER! publish a pro-admin article. They are almost as far left as The Nation, a rag which makes it its business to be anti-American.


18 posted on 10/20/2006 2:09:41 PM PDT by driftless2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz
No...I am Spartacus! ;^)
19 posted on 10/20/2006 2:10:29 PM PDT by DCPatriot ("It aint what you don't know that kills you. It's what you know that aint so" Theodore Sturgeon)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: SuzyQue
Many in the American public are totally oblivious to the MSM's concoctions and lies.

Unfortunately many of them do not want to know, because that would mean they have been fooled for most of their lives. I love my parents, but they will believe the Newsweek story because it is in Newsweek. To believe the Pentagon would mean that Newsweek lied and if they lie about Afghanistan, that would mean that they lied about other things. Those "other things" are most of the reasons my parents are Democrats. That is also the "truth" for lots of the pre-boomers.

20 posted on 10/20/2006 2:19:35 PM PDT by Talking_Mouse (wahhabi delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest
As yes, NewsWEAK of the famous Koran in the toilet lie.

So sorry people died when NewsWEAK lied.

21 posted on 10/20/2006 2:21:44 PM PDT by OldFriend (CNN CELEBRATING THE DEATH OF OUR HEROES)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest; abb

Dinosaur Media ping!


22 posted on 10/20/2006 2:24:18 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Talking_Mouse

It sounds like you turned out fine though. :)


23 posted on 10/20/2006 2:26:08 PM PDT by SuzyQue (Remember to think.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone

"nattering nabobs of negativism"

Pat Buchanan actually wrote that line for Agnew.


24 posted on 10/20/2006 2:46:03 PM PDT by toddlintown (Six bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: toddlintown

I believe it was William Safire:

http://www.bartleby.com/73/1553.html


25 posted on 10/20/2006 3:05:29 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: toddlintown

Really? I don't think much of Pat these days, but that was a classic for the ages.


26 posted on 10/20/2006 3:12:05 PM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest

We might both be right, although I was watching McLaughlin awhile back when he claimed Pat wrote it and the Irishman just smiled.

"With the help of White House speechwriters Pat Buchanan and William Safire, Agnew developed a distinctive, jeering speech style that mixed some heavy fun into the contempt.

In a 1969 speech against war protesters, he said, "A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals." "In the United States today," Agnew told a 1970 audience in San Diego, "we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism." He went after "pusillanimous pussyfooters" and "vicars of vacillation" and "the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history."
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,985217,00.html

"Pat worked as an advisor and speechwriter for Richard Nixon and was the author of Spiro Agnew's famous "nattering nabobs of negativism" phrase."
http://www.fuldaohio.com/famous_fulda_faces.htm

"In the modern era, then Vice President Spiro Agnew kicked off the modern era of political pandering with a speech he delivered in Des Moines, Iowa in 1969, written partially by Pat Buchanan. In that speech, Agnew went after "the media," and exploited small town and rural folks' insecurities and suspicion of Easterners and the well-educated in order to deflect attacks on the Presidents' policies. It was in that speech that we were introduced to academics as "an effete corps of impudent snobs." Later, Agnew would regale us with "nattering nabobs of negativism." The message? Hate people who know more than you!"
http://www.gapersblock.com/airbags/archives/pandering_pandering_pandering/




27 posted on 10/20/2006 3:22:12 PM PDT by toddlintown (Six bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: toddlintown

And finally this from Safire on Meet the Press:

MS. MITCHELL: OK. Now whose alliterative phrase was “nattering nabobs of negativism,” Mr. Safire?

MR. SAFIRE: Well, Mr. Agnew was kind enough to credit me with that afterwards because I’m an alliteration nut.

MS. MITCHELL: This was when you were the speechwriter in the White House.

MR. SAFIRE: Right. And I was on loan to Agnew for that speech. I didn’t write the Des Moines speech, Pat Buchanan did that, where he really zapped the press. And again, the Nixon administration in that case got a leg up. And people said, “Hey, yeah, we’re angry at not just Nixon. We’re angry at the Congress and we’re angry at the media.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13615446/page/6/


28 posted on 10/20/2006 3:29:23 PM PDT by toddlintown (Six bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: toddlintown

Interesting, I always thought it was clear that Safire was the author, but now I see Buchanan might well have been involved.

To show how htings have changed, Buchanan spent his appearance on yesterday's Hardball agreeing with Bob Shrum!


29 posted on 10/20/2006 3:32:48 PM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest (Watching the Today Show since 2002 so you don't have to.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: governsleastgovernsbest

bump


31 posted on 10/20/2006 5:27:39 PM PDT by lowbridge (DNC - "We support our troops! Ummm.....what do they look like again?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz
I am Antoninus

"I love you Spartacus"

32 posted on 10/20/2006 5:36:38 PM PDT by lowbridge (DNC - "We support our troops! Ummm.....what do they look like again?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson