May 17, 2005

NBC's Today suggests Bush Administration forced Newsweek to retract story

When you thought NBC's Today couldn't sink any lower in their tactics used to criticize the Bush Administration (all while hiding behind the veil of "journalistic impartialiaty"), this morning, they suggested that the only reason Newsweek retracted their false story was pressure from the Bush White House.

Again and again, Today floated the notion that Newsweek retracted the story due to pressure from the Bush administration, and went so far as to suggest the story might be true.

The focus was at least as much on possibly sinister motives at the "White House," as it was on any transgression by Newsweek.

Thus the story was introduced with this question: "Will Newsweek's retraction end the flurry of White House criticism?"

And again: "Did pressure from the White House impact Newsweek's decision to retract the story?"

Matt Lauer stuck to the marching orders in his interview of Dan Klaidman Newsweek DC Bureau Chief.

Lauer: "Did you get pressure from the White House?"

Klaidman flatly denied it: "The only pressure was our own sense of responsibility."

That wasn't good enough for Lauer. He was apparently more willing to believe the enemies of the US than he was the Bush administration or even Newsweek.

Lauer: "There is suspicion in the Muslim world. They say they've heard similar reports from released detainees. Why shouldn't we believe it and think that Newsweek retracted the story only because it was forced to do so by the White House to protect its image?" And just in case anyone missed the MSM message, Lauer sympathetically asked: "Is there piling on by the administration?"

Given that the propagation of a false story led to riots and deaths, you'd think the last thing Today would do would be to air other rumors. Yet incredibly, incredibly!, that's exactly what it devoted virtually the entirety of its next segment to.

NBC reporter Richard Engel reported from Baghdad, and his report consisted of retelling a variety of additional rumors:

1. "There are many rumors in Iraq and across Muslim world that this kind of thing happens regularly."

2. "There are rumors that US Marines while raiding a mosque abused a Koran and spray-painted it."

3. "Another one - during a search of woman, a search dog pulled a Koran out of the woman's handbag and Marines started laughing."

Engel claimed: "People believe this is not a war on terrorism but a war on Islam."

Lauer 'helpfully' filled in the blanks: "You're telling me people in that part of the world expect the worst from the US.?"

Engel somberly observed: "I'm not sure we're winning the battle for hearts and minds. There is still fallout from Abu Ghraib."

And just to pour the last measure of gasoline on the fire, Engel ended with this explosive allegation: "There are rumors women were raped at Abu Ghraib. One women claimed she was raped six times every night."

With partisan stories like this that border on propaganda, is there any wonder that Today is falling behind Good Morning America in the morning ratings race?

How long before Katie Couric accuses President Bush of eating children?

Posted by mhking at May 17, 2005 09:16 AM

Bush eats ground up fetuses for breakfast. It's a proven fact.

Maybe they're chickens, maybe they're not, I'm just saying.

Posted by: Gabe at May 17, 2005 04:55 PM
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