Monday, May 16, 2005

See, there, the innocent blood you have spilt

What power! A magazine can kill with nothing more than an anonymously sourced story. They need not arm their reporters, sell explosives to terrorists, or even directly encourage rioters and looters; all it takes is a single allegation dressed up as fact. Is there anything that can be done? The best remedy for harmful speech is more speech, but the irrational actors in this story - both ours and theirs - are utterly convinced only of American perfidy, and will accept no other version of events; like the Koran itself, once written, Newsweek's story has been deemed to be the irrefutable truth, and to question its sacrosanct perfection is harmful to one's health. That's partly due to magical thinking on the part of the true believers, attaching a kind of talismanic importance to anything which validates their twisted idea of reality, but no less the fault of those credulous, self-important professional journalists who - as Glenn Reynolds notes - were all too eager to get out a Gotcha story validating their own views. I can't in good conscience endorse the heavy-handed regulation of free speech, but I wonder sometimes how to impress upon the media the responsiblity they must face in having such power; without some self-control, it's no less reckless than - well, I'm having a hard time thinking of anything that's as reckless. Lobbing grenades off the roof of a midtown Manhattan office tower, maybe, and even that might not kill or injure as many. Newsweek and their ilk have become murderously irresponsible. They have blood on their hands...and seem not to be very bothered by it. I will remember that. (Via Damian Penny and LGF. Lots more at Instapundit.)

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