It would be quite possible to feel bad for the Newsweek reporters who made a tragic mistake’ if one got any sense of real remorse at the magazine.
The arrogance of members of the elite press corps came out so clearly in exchanges with White House spokesman Scott McClellan at a recent press conference (many thanks to Drudge for the transcript):
Q.: With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it’s appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the President of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not telling them. I’m saying that we would encourage them to help —
Q.: You’re pressuring them.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’m saying that we would encourage them —
Q.: It’s not pressure?
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. And Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting the story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report. And that’s all I’m saying. But, no, you’re absolutely right, it’s not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report….
Q.: Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you’re saying here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Elisabeth, let me finish my sentence. Our military —
Q.: You’ve already said what you’re — I know what — how it ends.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I’m coming to your question, and you’re not letting me have a chance to respond. But our military goes out of their way to handle the Koran with care and respect. There are policies and practices that are in place. This report was wrong. Newsweek, itself, stated that it was wrong. And so now I think it’s incumbent and — incumbent upon Newsweek to do their part to help repair the damage. And they can do that through ways that they see best, but one way that would be good would be to point out what the policies and practices are in that part of the world, because it’s in that region where this report has been exploited and used to cause lasting damage to the image of the United States of America. It has had serious consequences. And so that’s all I’m saying, is that we would encourage them to take steps to help repair the damage. And I think that they recognize the importance of doing that. That’s all I’m saying.
Q.: As far as the Newsweek article is concerned, first, how and where the story came from? And do you think somebody can investigate if it really happened at the base, and who told Newsweek? Because somebody wrote a story.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think Newsweek has talked about it. They took it —