May 18, 2005

Moron Newsweek...

Hey, I just found out that Keef Olbermann has a blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Keef! And welcome to your first fisking!

(Well, he may have been fisked before. I dunno.)

I smell something — and it ain’t a copy of the Qu’ran sopping wet from being stuck in a toilet in Guantanamo Bay. It’s the ink drying on Scott McClellan’s resignation, and in an only partly imperfect world, it would be drifting out over Washington, and imminently.

Hmm. Now, what could have brought out that aroma?

Last Thursday, General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld’s go-to guy whenever the situation calls for the kind of gravitas the Secretary himself can’t supply,

LOL! Rummy lacks gravitas!

Hey, I thought we stopped using the word "gravitas" after the 2000 Republican convention. Dude! "Gravitas" is sooooo 20th century!

told reporters at the Pentagon that rioting in Afghanistan was related more to the on-going political reconciliation process there , than it was to a controversial note buried in the pages of Newsweek claiming that the government was investigating whether or not some nitwit interrogator at Gitmo really had desecrated a Muslim holy book.

But Monday afternoon, while offering himself up to the networks for a series of rare, almost unprecedented sit-down interviews on the White House lawn, Press Secretary McClellan said, in effect, that General Myers, and the head of the after-action report following the disturbances in Jalalabad, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, were dead wrong.

Okay. Before we continue, here is the question and General Myers' answer:

Q: Do either one of you have anything about the demonstrations in Afghanistan, which were apparently sparked by reports that there was a lack of respect by some interrogators at Guantanamo for the Koran. Do either one of you have anything to say about that?

GEN. MYERS: It's the -- it's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eikenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran -- and I'll get to that in just a minute -- but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his Cabinet is conducting in Afghanistan. So that's -- that was his judgment today in an after- action of that violence. He didn't -- he thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.

General Craddock, our commander of Southern Command, has been in Guantanamo for the last couple of days digging into this issue to see if there was a time when the Koran was not respected. I can tell you that the version of the Koran that we provide to detainees is approved by the ICRC. So we're very careful about that. They have looked through the logs, the interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there were ever the case of the toilet incident, except for one case, a log entry, which they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Koran and putting in the toilet to stop it up as a protest. But not where the U.S. did it.

Now, there -- so it's something we're going to look at. That's still unconfirmed; it's a log entry that has to be confirmed. There are several log entries that show that the Koran may have been moved to -- and the detainees became irritated about it, but never an incident where it was thrown in the toilet.
SEC. RUMSFELD: The experts here are here, if people have questions on BRAC. And I think --
Q: (Off mike) -- talk to tomorrow. (Laughter.)

As to Olbermann's point, General Myers was referring to an assessment by General Eikenberry. Myers was not offering it as his own assessment.
He then sites General Craddock as the confirming source of the detainee flushing the Koran in protest account.

But, the instigating factor of the riots is not in doubt. Just ask the rioters, Keef, they'll tell ya!

Keef continues....

The Newsweek story, McClellan said, “has done damage to our image abroad and it has done damage to the credibility of the media and Newsweek in particular. People have lost lives. This report has had serious consequences.”

Whenever I hear Scott McClellan talking about ‘media credibility,’ I strain to remember who it was who admitted Jeff Gannon to the White House press room and called on him all those times.

Whew, changing the subject, eh? The last refuge of demogogue...

Whenever I hear this White House talking about ‘doing to [sic] damage to our image abroad’ and how ‘people have lost lives,’ I strain to remember who it was who went traipsing into Iraq looking for WMD that will apparently turn up just after the Holy Grail will — and at what human cost.

And back to the justification argument we go.

This isn't about WMD in Iraq, you idiot, and it never was. It's about changing a culture that is unwillfully bound to it's tyrant overlords who're bent on destroying even the ancient rocky relics of any religion other than it's own. This is a war on the terrorism that springs naturally from an indoctrination and upbringing that teaches that we need to bring "Heaven" to earth. It's a war on religious persecution and all of the insane bloodshed that follows from it. Now, are you going to take this seriously or or are we going to slouch toward our inate love of arrogant smarmy dismissiveness?

Newsweek’s version of this story has varied from the others over the last two years — ones in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, and British and Russian news organizations — only in that it quoted a government source who now says he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of whether or not the investigation took place (oops, sorry, shoulda mentioned that, buh-bye).

**sigh** You really are tiresome...

All of its other government connections — the ones past which it ran the story — have gone from saying nothing like ‘don’t print this, it ain’t true’ or ‘don’t print this, it may be true but it’ll start riots,’ to looking slightly confused and symbolically saying ‘Newsweek? Newsweek who?’

Two "sources" were contacted. One offered no comment, the other addressed an aspect other than the Koran-flushing. Could it be, oh, maybe, that they didn't comment on the Koran-flushing because, oh, I dunno... they'd never heard of such a thing?!

Of course not, Keef. Their deafening silence is obviously evidence that they were covering up something very sinister; very dark and shadowy; very Rovian. Hell, FrankJ can't make this stuff up!

Now, here comes the barking moonbattery:

Whatever I smell comes from this odd sequence of events: Newsweek gets blasted by the White House, apologizes over the weekend but doesn't retract its story. Then McClellan offers his Journalism 101 outdoor seminar and blasts the magazine further. Finally, just before 5 p.m. Monday, the Dan Rather drama replaying itself in its collective corporate mind, Newsweek retracts.

Because they were wruuuuh..... Wait, I can say it!

I was wruuuuuhhh... Dang it, that's hard!

Anywho, they retracted because they were wruuuuhhh.....

I’m always warning about the logical fallacy — the illusion that just because one event follows another, the latter must have necessarily caused the former.

Thanks for the warning. Hope ya heard it.

But when I wondered tonight on Countdown if it applied here, Craig Crawford reassured me. “The dots connect.”

This oughta be good...

The real point, of course, is that you’d have to be pretty dumb to think that making a threat at Gitmo akin to ‘Spill the beans or we’ll kill this Qu’ran’ would have any effect on the prisoners, other than to eventually leak out and inflame anti-American feelings somewhere. Of course, everybody in the prosecution of the so-called ‘war on terror’ has done something dumb, dating back to the President’s worst-possible-word-selection (“crusade”) on September 16, 2001. So why wouldn’t some mid-level interrogator stuck in Cuba think it would be a good idea to desecrate a holy book? Jack Rice, the former CIA special agent and now radio host, said on Countdown that it would be a “knuckleheaded” thing to do, but “plausible.”

Paragraphs like this are why I named my blog Blather Review. I mean, Holy Shiite.

First Keef admits that there's no reason, other than folly, to desecrate the Koran. So, he proposes the "real" reason: To deliberately instigate violence among Muslims, where many would die, and have a golden opportunity to blame it on Newsweek magazine and thus to "discredit" them. Blood for ink. If this isn't the most cynical thesis I've ever read then it's close.

But, he wont stop there, nosiree. Keef continues.... .

One of the most under-publicized analyses...

"most underpublicized" usually means "most rediculous"... jus' sayin'...

...of 9/11 concludes that Osama Bin Laden assumed that the attacks on the U.S. would galvanize Islamic anger towards this country, and they'd overthrow their secular governments and woo-hoo we've got an international religious war. Obviously it didn't happen. It didn't even happen when the West went into Iraq. But if stuff like the Newsweek version of a now two-year-old tale about toilets and Qu’rans is enough to set off rioting in the streets of countries whose nationals were not even the supposed recipients of the ‘abuse’, then weren’t those members of the military or the government with whom Newsweek vetted the plausibility of its item, honor-bound to say “you can’t print this”?

Honestly, I've read that paragraph several times and I'm still not sure where Keef is going. So let's move on...

Or would somebody rather play politics with this? The way Craig Crawford reconstructed it, this one went similarly to the way the Killian Memos story evolved at the White House. The news organization turns to the administration for a denial. The administration says nothing. The news organization runs the story. The administration jumps on the necks of the news organization with both feet — or has its proxies do it for them.
That’s beyond shameful. It’s treasonous.

Keef can be a funny guy. Sometimes. No, really! (Though, he's no Craig Crawford...) But, what definition of "treasonous" is he applying here?

It’s also not very smart. While places like the Fox News Channel (which, only today, I finally recognized — it’s the newscast perpetually running on the giant video screens in the movie “1984”) ask how many heads should roll at Newsweek, it forgets in its fervor that both the story and the phony controversy around it are not so cut-and-dried this time.

Oh, now even the controversy is phony! No lives were lost! It's all a conspiracy! Nothing happening here, move along....!

Firstly, the principal reporter on the Gitmo story was Michael Isikoff — “Spikey” in a different lifetime; Linda Tripp’s favorite journalist, and one of the ten people most responsible (intentionally or otherwise) for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Spikey isn’t just a hero to the Right — the Right owes him.

Aah, I remember it well, Keef. You hosted The Big Show on MSNBC. But, you couldn't stand covering the impeachment of President Clinton, so you quit the show and went back to ESPN. You blame Michael Isikoff for ruining your first run at a primetime news program. He, therefore, must be "a hero to the Right".

In terms of politics, this isn't well-defined, is it?

Out here in the real world, not everything comes down to partisan politics, Keef. Sometimes it's about truth and untruth; good journalism and reckless journalism; life and death.

I mean Conservatives might parrot McClellan and say ‘Newsweek put this country in a bad light.’ But they could just as easily thump their chests and say ‘See, this is what we do to those prisoners at Gitmo! You guys better watch your asses!’

Yes, we could say either one. It's just that the one that conservatives "parrot" (thanks for respecting others' ability to think) is true and your suggested alternative is a lie. And, "just as easily"? You're projecting again.

Ultimately, though, the administration may have effected its biggest mistake over this saga, in making the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs look like a liar or naïf, just to draw a little blood out of Newsweek’s hide.

Didn't I hand you your ass on that point already...?

Either way — and also for that tasteless, soul-less conclusion that deaths in Afghanistan should be lain at the magazine’s doorstep — Scott McClellan should resign.

The responsibility for those tragic deaths rest firstly with the rioters. Newsweek's blame is not foreseeing that a zealous few who refuse to believe anything other than that America is on a jihad against Islam would riot at the "news" of Korans being flushed down terlets. McClellan was right.

The expiration on his carton full of blank-eyed bully-collaborator act passed this afternoon as he sat reeling off those holier-than-thou remarks. Ah, that’s what I smelled.

Clever ending, I gotta give ya that!

"Holier-than-thou remarks"? Well, at least they were based on facts, not paranoid conspiracy theories.

Watch Keith each weeknight at 8 p.m. ET as he Counts down the best, the worst, and the oddest news stories of the day.

I find Keef unwatchable. He's not as funny as Paul Begala, or as amusingly sophist as Phil Donahue. At least he's not as annoyingly smug and humorless as Linda Ellerbee was on her nighttime "news" show some 25 years ago. "And so it goes..." Yeesh, she was infuriating. But, that's for another blather review...

Posted by Tuning Spork at May 18, 2005 12:44 AM

I love it when you get all over something like this! LOL

Posted by: Ted at May 18, 2005 06:14 AM

I thought Keith was just a sports caster. You know, the guy who says, "that was another nice hit up the middle". While I wish he'd keep to that, it occurs to me that if he didn't, I'd be deprived of the excellent blog bitch slap administered here. Nice one!

Posted by: RP at May 21, 2005 12:31 PM
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