Next week may be the first week that finds Newsweek on the cover of Time. It's certainly our top story, as you'll see from the posts below. Roger Simon starts things off, wrapping up with an attempt to put the story in a left/right context, which Jim Lampley has swiftly rebutted. And Sandy Frank has issued his own mea culpa (we forgive you, Sandy, but, we'll be conducting a serious internal review).
In the last few months, we’ve had New York Times Public Editor Dan Okrent concluding that the Times did a "lousy job on WMD," and that the Times' WMD coverage was "bad journalism, even very bad journalism"; the Detroit Free Press concluding, following a six week review, that Mitch Albom had made up details of a basketball game and used quotes from other sources without attribution; and now Newsweek admitting that, despite multiple layers of vetting, its Koran story is shaky at best. So the question is: are mainstream media really ready for the big time? Sure, they’ve had a few successes, they've brought down a president or two, but perhaps they're feeling their oats too much and just need some more maturity.
I find it amazing that the mainstream media can engage in a constant onslaught of tsk-tsking about the blogosphere, while simultaneously moving from one big screw up to the next -- and never see the connection between the two.
I've said it before, but this seems an obvious place to say it again: the problem with blogs isn't that they're not edited. The great thing about blogs is that they are edited. By other bloggers. And, in contrast to big media, in public... in the open.
As far as the specifics of the Newsweek case go, Richard Bradley calms things down and notes that the Pentagon hasn't actually denied the Newsweek claims.
And, on a larger note, I doubt that the violence in Afghanistan was solely the result of a story about a Koran with ripped pages. That was merely the spark. It was the outrages at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib that fueled the anti-American fire.