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Oh, Now You Tell Us! FOX News Changes Its Story On The Effects Of Koran Abuse

Reported by Ellen - June 5, 2005

Now that it's been revealed that Newsweek was right after all about US soldiers desecrating the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, suddenly FOX News tells us that Laura Bush, the Bush Administration's go-to gal for damage control, knew all along Newsweek was not solely responsible for the riots in Afghanistan following the publication of its now-retracted story. Funny how FOX waits until now - just when the White House is saying the incidents should not be blown up out of proportion - to report Laura's insights into Afghani and Middle East politics.

In its first article about Laura and the Koran, headlined Laura Bush 'Glad' Newsweek Retracted Story, FOXNews.com wrote without qualification that Newsweek's story "spurred violent riots in Afghanistan and the Middle East." In another article, this one via AP, FOX reported that the "The White House says the image of the United States suffered irreparable damage" from the Newsweek article and that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Koran has been handled "very, very carefully."

But now FOX reports that the White House says the incidents should not be blown out of "proportion" (what a coincidence that the same talking point was also used by FOX military analyst Thomas McInerney the night before on The Alan Colmes Show). What a further coinicidence that FOX News has changed its point of view at the same time. Along with the White House, FOX has lost all its concern as to how this latest news might irreparably damage the United States' image. Condi Rice's certainty about the careful handling of the Koran also seems to have been forgotten. However, in a turncoat measure probably designed to save its own face, FOX's latest report dated June 4, 2005, says it was the Bush Administration who blamed Newsweek for deadly demonstrations in Afghanistan.

Suddenly, it is revealed for the first time that Laura Bush never thought it was all Newsweek's fault after all:

On her goodwill trip to the Middle East last month, first lady Laura Bush said Newsweek should not be solely blamed for the deadly protests that followed its report. "In the United States if there's a terrible report, people don't riot and kill other people," she said. "And you can't excuse what they did because of the mistake - you know, you can't blame it all on Newsweek."

Gee, I wonder why FOXNews.com left that part out of its first article?

6/5/05 UPDATE: One of our readers pointed out that on May 20 (the same day that FOXNews.com posted its article about the Laura Bush interview), another article on FOXNews.com reported that Laura Bush said Newsweek wasn't solely responsible for the Afghanistan riots. However, that article was written by AP whereas the article I cited about the Laura Bush interview, posted on the same day, was written by FOX News. So, while it's true that FOX did reveal that Laura Bush didn't blame Newsweek earlier than I reported, I don't think that changes the fundamental meaning behind what I said. FOX News wrote an article about its interview with Laura Bush 1) which was headlined she was "glad" Newsweek retracted the story; 2) in which FOX attributed the Afghanistan violence to the Newsweek story; and 3) ignored the AP story posted on its own website that same day in which Laura gave a different view. Since their own website said so, FOX must have known Laura disagreed with their assessment as to the source of the violence. The fact that FOX didn't include Laura's view about Newsweek's responsibility until the second FOX-prepared article - after the Koran abuse was confirmed - along with the fact that FOX, itself, has backed away from blaming the violence on the Newsweek article, demonstrates that FOX has indeed changed its position along with the White House. Also, highlighting Laura's opinion about the Newsweek story now, after previously ignoring it in its prepared stories, is another example where she conveniently provides damage control.

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