Rush to Judgment?

05/16/2005 11:10 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Let's hold off a bit before completely trashing Newsweek, shall we? While its apology suggests that it may have gotten some of the story wrong, what's less clear is the fundamental question at issue: whether U.S. officials desecrated the Koran during interrogations at Guantanomo Bay. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't—but Newsweek has not retracted that part of its story.

Predictably, the backlash has begun. “People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DeRita said, apparently referring to Newsweek's source.

No—people are dead because angry Muslims rioted, not because of something printed in a free press in a democracy where, thankfully, that kind of reaction to a magazine article is frowned upon rather than encouraged.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has not actually said that there was no desecration of the Koran....

Newsweek needs to figure out what it got right and what it got wrong, and fast. But let's not blame the messenger for violence prompted by reporting—even if that reporting turns out to be inaccurate.