Thursday, May 19, 2005

Editorial Judgment?

In her column today, Ann Coulter skewers Newsweek Magazine and the rest of the MSM, for the "curious" editorial judgment which led to rioting and deaths in the Islamosphere last weekend.

She points out that Michael Isikoff, the reporter responsible for the now-repudiated article which claimed that US soldiers flushed copies of the Koran down the toilet, has had many stories spiked by Newsweek in the past, stories which were much better sourced and authenticated than the "Korangate" piece:
When ace reporter Michael Isikoff had the scoop of the decade, a thoroughly sourced story about the president of the United States having an affair with an intern and then pressuring her to lie about it under oath, Newsweek decided not to run the story. Matt Drudge scooped Newsweek, followed by The Washington Post...

When Isikoff was the first with detailed reporting on Paula Jones' accusations against a sitting president, Isikoff's then-employer The Washington Post — which owns Newsweek — decided not to run it. The American Spectator got the story, followed by the Los Angeles Times.

The meme now circulating amongst MSM pundits, in a pathetic effort to justify Newsweek's decision to run the story, is "similar stories have been reported before" by released detainees. Of course, the sources for these stories haven't exactly been bulletproof, as Coulter points out:
Is there an adult on the editorial board of Newsweek? Al-Jazeera also broadcast a TV miniseries last year based on the "Protocols of the Elders Of Zion." (I didn't see it, but I hear James Brolin was great!) Al-Jazeera has run programs on the intriguing question, "Is Zionism worse than Nazism?" (Take a wild guess where the consensus was on this one.) It runs viewer comments about Jews being descended from pigs and apes. How about that for a Newsweek cover story, Evan? You're covered — al-Jazeera has already run similar reports!

How to explain the MSM's reluctance to run well-sourced stories like those above, and eagerness to jump on stories like "Korangate", which have their foundation in little more than rumor? Well, when people say things (a) without checking the facts , (b) that have destructive consequences, and (c) that will make them look stupid when they have to recant, you can be relatively sure that ideology is at work. Ideology blinds one to the perception of reality just as surely as sin does.

So what is the ideology at work here? The left's visceral loathing for all things Western, Christian, and American. The MSM, being composed largely of leftists, deeply believes that the West is eeevviiilll, and therefore that all things non-Western are innocent, good, and beautiful. Call it an updated version of Rousseau's myth of the "noble savage".

The problem with this ideology is that, like most others, if it is allowed to run its course it has deadly consequences. As the families of the 16 dead Muslims now know too well.