Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Isikoff is on the case! Expose the Congressman that leaked the story -- [and had lunch with Abramoff, too while you're at it, Mike!]

[you go, Mike Isikoff!]
isikoff isikoff

Michael Isikoff (AP Photo, 1998)

More Coverage
White House: Newsweek story did great harm May 18, 2005
e-Poll: Now what? [Kilroy2005 sez, what the hell? we are at war!]

What should Newsweek do now? Nothing, it's enough to apologize and re-examine the story. Fire the editor and reporters. Newsweek should pay for costs from the violence.
More Coverage
Magazine's action prompts disbelief in Afghanistan May 16, 2005

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst." -- Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker in a note to readers

May 17, 2005, 8:23 PM EDT

A day after Newsweek retracted his story about U.S. interrogators defiling a Quran, reporter Michael Isikoff vowed to continue digging into the controversy."We are continuing to investigate what remains a very murky situation," the prize-winning journalist told Newsday. "It's not like us or them [the Pentagon] have gotten to the bottom of this."

Isikoff and Newsweek have been pilloried in the past few days by the Bush administration for allegedly endangering U.S. troops abroad and helping fan anti-U.S. riots that left at least 15 people dead. The article in the May 9 edition included a charge that U.S. personnel flushed a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy text, down a toilet at the detention center for suspected Islamic terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."Things turned out horribly, but it was unforeseen," Isikoff said, referring to the protests. "A very strange set of circumstances led to a very horrible chain of events. And we all feel terrible about it."

Isikoff, who grew up in Syosset and turns 53 next month, is no stranger to controversy including brickbats from the White House. His reporting on the sexual relationship between then-President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to impeachment hearings. In taped testimony released in 1998, Clinton angrily blamed Isikoff and Newsweek for fueling the sex-related charges against him. The Lewinsky scandal and criticism of his work by Clinton supporters taught Isikoff to stay focused on his work. "All things do pass," he said Tuesday. "Just don't get hung up, just plow ahead, forge ahead and do your job."Newsweek officials have said Isikoff and national security correspondent John Barry, who co-authored the 320-word story about abuses by U.S. interrogators, will not be disciplined. Isikoff said, "I believe Newsweek has been clear up the line that they don't see any evidence that anybody, much less me, did anything wrong."Isikoff defended his reporting, saying his unnamed source had been reliable in the past. In this instance, the reporter said the source only was incorrect about the document in which he read of the Quran defilement, not that it took place. Isikoff also said a top Pentagon official didn't dispute the Quran charge when he was shown the story prior to publication."If it was wrong, why didn't you [Pentagon officials] demand a correction right away?" Isikoff said. " ... They didn't say a word until 11 days after the piece ran when rioting had begun."Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman disputed the timing of his department's response to the Newsweek story, saying, "when does it become our responsibility to correct every wrong report out there?" He added, "Here's a reporter who is trying to deflect blame for a story that was not only thinly sourced but wrong."White House spokesman Scott McClellan called on Newsweek to go a step beyond its retraction: "Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report."Some journalism experts praised Isikoff's tenacity in pursuing stories but questioned his reliance on unnamed sources. "There is no question he has the abilities of a great reporter," said Tom Goldstein, former dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. "This was a terrible foul up ... Newsweek needs to review how it uses anonymous sources."

***The Isikoff PR parade - viva la HighViz-ability! Fake story? Soon to fade-out***

Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on reports (AP) May 16, 2005 (RealAudio)
Thomas on report attribution (AP) May 16, 2005 (RealAudio)
More Coverage
Newsweek Retracts Its Article on Koran May 17, 2005
Newsweek retracts Quran story May 17, 2005
Pakistan Repeats Demand for Quran Probe May 16, 2005
Rice Says Quran Report Damaging to U.S. May 16, 2005
Newsweek Backtracks on Koran Report May 16, 2005
Story that sparked riots questioned May 16, 2005

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