The Truth will prevail, but only if we demand it from Congress!
9-11 Inside Job and Neocons Hacked 2004
COWARDICE IN JOURNALISM AWARD FOR NEWSWEEK
Goebbels Award for Condi
by Greg Palast
"It's appalling that this story got out there," Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice said on her way back from
What's NOT appalling to Condi is that the
not appalling to Condi is that prisoners of the Afghan war are held in
violation of international law after that conflict has supposedly ended.
What is NOT appalling to Condi is that prisoner witnesses have reported
several instances of the Koran's desecration.
What is appalling to her is that these things were REPORTED. So to
Condi goes to the Joseph Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda Iron Cross.
But I don't want to leave out our President. His aides report that
George Bush is "angry" about the report -- not the desecration of the
Koran, but the REPORTING of it.
And so long as George is angry and Condi appalled, Newsweek knows what
to do: swiftly grab its corporate ankles and ask the White House for
But there was no mercy. Donald Rumsfeld pointed the finger at Newsweek
and said, "People lost their lives. People are dead." Maybe Rumsfeld
was upset that Newsweek was taking away his job. After all, it's hard
to beat Rummy when it comes to making people dead.
And just for the record: Newsweek, unlike Rumsfeld, did not kill
anyone -- nor did its report cause killings. Afghans protested when they
heard the Koran desecration story (as Christians have protested crucifix
desecrations). The Muslim demonstrators were gunned down by the Afghan
military police -- who operate under Rumsfeld's command.
Our Secretary of Defense, in his darkest Big Brother voice, added a
warning for journalists and citizens alike, "People need to be very
careful about what they say."
And Newsweek has now promised to be very, very good, and very, very
careful not to offend Rumsfeld, appall Condi or anger George.
For their good behavior, I'm giving Newsweek and its owner, the
Washington Post, this week's Yellow Streak Award for Craven Cowardice in Journalism.
As always, the competition is fierce, but Newsweek takes the honors by
backing down on Mike Isakoff's expose of cruelity, racism and just
plain bone-headed incompetence by the
Isakoff cited a reliable source that among the neat little
"interrogation" techniques used to break down Muslim prisoners was putting a copy
of the Koran into a toilet.
In the old days, Isakoff's discovery would have led to Congressional
investigations of the perpetrators of such official offence. The
Koran-flushers would have been flushed from the military, panels would have
been impaneled and Isakoff would have collected his Pulitzer.
No more. Instead of nailing the wrong-doers, the Bush Administration
went after the guy who REPORTED the crime, Isakoff.
Was there a problem with the story? Certainly. If you want to split
hairs, the inside-government source of the Koran desecration story now
says he can't confirm which military report it appeared in. But he saw it in
one report and a witnesses has confirmed that the Koran was defiled.
Of course, there's an easy way to get at the truth. RELEASE THE
REPORTS NOW. Hand them over, Mr. Rumsfeld, and let's see for ourselves
what's in them.
But Newsweek and the Post are too polite to ask Rumsfeld to make the
investigative reports public. Rather, the corporate babysitter for
Newsweek, editor Mark Whitaker, said, "Top administration officials have
promised to continue looking into the charges and so will we." In other words,
we'll take the Bush Administration's word that there is no
evidence of Koran-dunking in the draft reports on
It used to be that the Washington Post permitted journalism in its
newsrooms. No more. But, frankly, that's an old story.
Every time I say investigative reporting is dead or barely breathing in
Huh?" Hey, buddy, the Watergate investigation was 32 years ago -- that
means it's been nearly a third of a century since the Washington Post
has printed a big investigative scoop.
The Post today would never run the Watergate story: a hidden source
versus official denial. Let's face it, Bob Woodward, now managing editor at
the Post, has gone from "All the President's Men" to becoming the President's
Man -- "Bush at War." Ugh!
And now the Post company is considering further restrictions on the use
of confidential sources -- no more "Deep Throats."
Despite its supposed new concern for hidden sources, let's note that
Newsweek and the Post have no trouble providing, even in the midst of
this story, cover for secret Administration sources that are FAVORABLE to Bush.
Editor Whitaker's retraction relies on "Administration
officials" whose names he kindly withholds.
In other words, unnamed sources are OK if they defend Bush,
unacceptable if they expose the Administration's mendacity or evil.
A lot of my readers don't like the Koran-story reporter Mike Isakoff
because of his goofy fixation with Monica Lewinsky and Mr. Clinton's
cigar. Have some sympathy for Isakoff: Mike's one darn good reporter, but as
an inmate at the Post/Newsweek facilities, his ability to send out serious
communications to the rest of the world are limited.
A few years ago, while I was tracking the influence of the power
industry on Washington, Isakoff gave me some hard, hot stuff on Bill Clinton --
not the cheap intern-under-the-desk gossip -- but an FBI report for me to publish
in The Guardian of Britain.
I asked Isakoff why he didn't put it in Newsweek or in the Post.
not the readers, and especially not the editors who assume that their
audience is small-minded, ignorant and wants to stay that way.
That doesn't leave a lot of time, money or courage for real reporting.
And woe to those who practice investigative journalism. As with CBS's
retraction of Dan Rather's report on Bush's draft-dodging, Newsweek's
diving to the mat on
Newsweek has now publicly committed to having its reports vetted by
Rumsfeld's Defense Department before publication. Why not just print
Rumsfeld's press releases and eliminate the middleman, the reporter?
However, not all of us poor scribblers will adhere to this New News
Order. In the meantime, however, for my future security and comfort, I'm having
myself measured for a custom-made orange suit.
Greg Palast was awarded the 2005 George Orwell Prize for Courage in
Journalism at the Sundance Film Festival for his investigative reports
produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation. See those reports for
BBC, Harper's, The Nation and others at www.GregPalast.com