The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek, George Galloway and The Misplaced Allegiences of the Post

Two topics have been in the news recently that lots of people are talking about.

First, and perhaps foremost in the blogsphere is the staff of Newsweek who never cease at the opportunity to attack our military. Except, it turns out that this time they are wrong and lots of people died as a mistake.

A lot of people think its a crime. I don't know about that, but I do know Newsweek should face some penalty more serious than simply the blogsphere's rantings.

Ya know, in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute earlier this year renowned author Michael Crichton was discussing what he thought might turnout to be a pivotal event of our lifetime - especially in the context of science and government - which I think might apply equally to the Newsweek example: product liability for those who supply information.
There is third method for vetting data that is on the horizon. It's not here yet, but I am convinced it is coming. I'm talking about product liability for information.

We live in an information society. Nearly one American in three is a knowledge worker. More people are knowledge workers in this society than are engaged in manufacturing. By and large, what these knowledge workers do is generate information. And our society is totally dependent on the integrity of information. Yet we still do not define information as a product. And as a result it has evaded the Quality Revolution that has transformed other industries.

But product liability is already enforced for maps and charts, and will soon be applied to other information products as well. It's absolutely essential for the future.

It will be interesting to see if the Newsweek case is indeed the test case for his theory. Others seem to think Newsweek is at risk of legal action. While I don't know if they have a "legal duty" to provide accurate information (ya know, they might get off with the Ran Ratheresque "Fake But Accurate" defense) the other elements of a negligence suit seem to be in place.

Of course, not everyone thinks the criticism of Newsweek is fair. Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post media critic came to Newsweeks defense yesterday (well, at least defended them against some of the blogsphere's insights)
But the blogosphere has been denouncing Newsweek for far worse than making a terrible mistake. According to some online critics, Newsweek (owned by The Washington Post Co.) was on a crusade to make the military and the U.S. government look bad. In this view, the magazine gave free rein to its anti-war sentiments by denigrating the military and assuming the absolute worst

Well, that may or may not be the case. I am certainly of the opinion the Post is pretty clearly focused in its mission against the military and the U.S. Government (well, at least the Bush Administration). Which brings up the second topic I want to talk about today, George Galloway.

Galloway, of course, is the MP who decided to sell his country, his allies, the UN, and the people of Iraq down the river in exchange for some of Saddam's riches.

Glenn's been all over it and even had a great post he linked to from The Scotsman.
GEORGE Galloway yesterday failed in his attempt to convince a sceptical US Senate investigative committee that he had not profited from oil dealings with Iraq under the UN’s controversial oil-for-food programme.

Despite a typically barnstorming performance full of bluster and rhetorical flourishes, the former Glasgow Kelvin MP was pinned down by persistent questioning over his business relationship with Fawaz Zureikat, the chairman of the Mariam Appeal - set up to assist a four-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukaemia.

And it was a Democrat senator, Carl Levin, rather than the Republican committee chairman, Norm Coleman, who gave him the hardest time as Mr Galloway sought to turn the tables on his inquisitors, leaving him no closer to clearing his name than when he took his seat in front of the sub-committee of the Senate’s homeland security and government affairs committee in Washington.

Time and again, Mr Levin questioned him, requesting wearily that he deliver a straight answer to a straight question. But Mr Galloway could, or would not.

That is how they are reporting Mr. Galloway's performance back at home. Which, of course, brings me back to my earlier comment on the Washington Post's seeming ability to spin everything as anti Bush and anti Republican as possible. Take for instance, today's story in the Washington Post Express - the free copy of the Post that is distributed to all of D.C.'s commuters and is probably read more closely than any other publication in D.C. (what else are you gonna do on Metro) Its short, so I’ll reprint it in its entirety here (any mistakes in my transcribing it are my fault, but the blame rests with the Post who refuse to make the Express available in a . form I can cut and paste.)

Senators Rebuked On Iraq

British MP denies kickback charges, lashes out over war

Washington – British lawmaker George Galloway scolded U.S. Senators Tuesday, denying a panels accusations that that he profited from the U.N. oil for food program and accusing them of unfairly tarnishing his name.

The panel’s chairman, Sen. Norm Coleman, questioned Galloway’s honesty and told reporters, “If in fact he lied to this committee, there will have to be consequences.”

Galloway’s appearance was an odd spectacle on Capitol Hill: a legislator from a friendly nation, voluntarily testifying under oath, without immunity, before a hostile congressional panel with little pretense of diplomatic niceties.

“Now, I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, your remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice,” Galloway told Coleman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs investigation subcommittee.

He also accused Coleman of maligning his name before giving him a chance to defend himself and of using the oil-for-food probe to hide the failures of U.S. policies in Iraq.

The panel is one of several congressional committees investigating allegations that Saddam Hussein manipulated the $64 billion oil-for-food program to get kickbacks and build international opposition to U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

Now, I ask you, after comparing the two realities – that of the Post and that of the Scotsman, is it really so ludicrous to believe Newsweek and its parent Washington Post are "on a crusade to make the military and the U.S. government look bad"?


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