WASHINGTON—Trying to mitigate the damage caused by the Koran toilet story of Washington Post sister publication Newsweek, Post media reporter Howard Kurtz inaccurately reported today that Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said that his senior commander in Afghanistan had told him that the riots that caused 16 deaths and injured more than 100 people were “not at all tied to the article.” But that’s not what the senior commander or Gen. Myers really said.
At a May 12 Pentagon briefing, Gen. Myers said that it was “a judgment” of the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, that the violence in one Afghan city, Jalalabad, “was not necessarily the result” of the Newsweek story and “not at all tied to the article.” However, the anti-American protests occurred in many different cities and regions of Afghanistan, as well as other Muslim countries. Newsweek has apologized for its role in provoking the unrest and violence, noting that a Pakistani activist had waved a copy of Newsweek when he had denounced the U.S. Afghan official Jawed Ludin, a spokesman for the Afghan president, has put the blame directly on Newsweek for the death and destruction.
“Howard Kurtz tried to get Newsweek off the hook for its admitted role in provoking the riots,” said AIM editor Cliff Kincaid. “The actual comments of Gen. Myers were distorted in an effort to exonerate Newsweek of its bloody role. If Kurtz didn’t consult the transcript and was operating on the basis of erroneous press accounts of what Gen. Myers said, then media watchdog Kurtz needs his own watchdog,” said Kincaid.
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.