May 18, 2005
Speaking of the mainstream media, the blogosphere is once again in righteous indignation over Newsweek magazine's erroneous story about U.S. military interrogators in Guantanamo, Cuba, who allegedly flushed a Koran down a toilet. Bloody riots broke out in Afghanistan and other countries, and as blogger Michelle Malkin cried out, "Newsweek lied, people died." I would not go that far, but Newsweek obviously has a lot to answer for, and its retraction is only a first step. At least it didn't take them as long to admit the mistake as it took CBS News to admit that the story on Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard was based on phony evidence. There was nothing wrong with the Bush administration putting heavy pressure on Newsweek's editors to retract the story, even though it's much too late to undo the damage to U.S. prestige in the Muslim world.
I've always found Andrew Sullivan to be among the most erudite and intellectually honest of the right-leaning bloggers, even though I disagree with him on some issues. He is understandably more harsh on social conservatives than I am, and of late he has spent an inordinate amount of time bewailing the abuses of prisoners in the war on terrorism and complaining about the fiscal deficits under President Bush. Both are certainly valid concerns, but I just don't see them as gloomily as Sullivan does. Glenn Reynolds responds to Sullivan's critiques and concludes with this understated yet devastating put-down: "But, I confess, I find the question of what Andrew thinks less pressing than I used to."