Newsweek: Learning From CBS’s Mistake?

By Brian 

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Newsweek’s Mark Whitaker doesn’t want to become a “gate.” In an interview with the New York Times, he contrasted his action and retraction of the Quran story with that of CBS News, when it refused to back down immediately last year from the Bush National Guard service story. “Clearly it became a problem for CBS because people thought they weren’t acknowledging that they screwed up,” Whitaker said. “Unlike CBS, we felt we were being extremely forthcoming by publishing all the details and publishing the Pentagon’s denials and saying we committed an error. But then it seemed that people felt like we weren’t apologizing. In order for people to understand we had made an error, we had to say ‘retraction’ because that’s the word they were looking for.”

> Update: 12:02pm: An e-mail from a CNNer: “This whole “Newsweek” “fiasco” is looking more and more like the CBS Controversy. In other words, some aspects of the story are flawed but the overall thrust is true (i.e., that Bush didn’t fulfill his Guard duty and that some U.S. troops HAVE desecrated the Quran). I believe the Bush administration has (once again) cowed the corporate media into submission with charges of ‘treason.’ This retraction by Newsweek is shameful. Hopefully CNN will stand up once and for all to the constant never-ending stream of lies and misinformation being fed to us by the Bush White House. But, sadly, it looks like we’ll just ‘middle of the road’ this story into yet another black hole of oblivion. Our reporting on this issue thus far sounds more like a White House press release than true investigation. And to hear Scottie McClelan go on about ‘journalistic ethics’ is the most disgusting thing. The minority of thinking Americans (not the ‘majority public’ who pump up our ratings and dumb down our coverage with their interest in Michael Jackson and runaway brides) truly want real journalists to take on this White House. The question is, does CNN have what it takes to stand up and say ‘Cut the shit. We’re on to your lies?’ Tragically, I don’t think we do.”

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