Update: See my response to the comments if you're interested.
I have no regrets having dropped Newsweek about a year ago, what with the Bush administration CBS'ing them and Newsweek having no more backbone than the other "mainstream" corporate media so-called "news" agencies.
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.The term "pussy whipped" comes to mind.
As always, the competition is fierce, but Newsweek takes the honors by backing down on Mike Isakoff's exposé of cruelity, racism and just plain bone-headed incompetence by the US military at the Guantanamo prison camp.
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...
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 in England.
I asked Isakoff why he didn't put it in Newsweek or in the Post.
He said, when it comes to issues of substance, "No one gives a shit" -- not the readers, and especially not the editors who assume that their US target 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 real journalism. As with CBS's retraction of Dan Rather's report on Bush's draft-dodging, Newsweek's diving to the mat on Guantanamo acts as a warning to all journalists who step out of line.
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?