Newsweek, if we give them the benefit of the doubt, made a terrible mistake. If you are, as am I, not so quick to believe Newsweek’s version of the story, then you are left with the realization that Newsweek, its publishers and editors, are at least partly responsible for the death of 15 people.
It is not that I don’t believe Newsweek made an error, I believe the reporting was erroneous, the question for me is whether or not Newsweek knew, in advance of its publication, that the story lacked credibility, would cause an outrage, and would further damage U.S. relations with the Muslim world. It is hard for me to accept that Newsweek’s staff of supposedly worldly journalist and editors weren’t aware of the potential for a story of this nature to become a spark in the tender box that is the Muslim world. I believe they either knew, and were okay with it, or worse, knew and wanted it.
Without any significant knowledge of the Muslim world Newsweek should have known of the cultural propensity to accept false reporting about the U.S. or the west. As such, if we are foolish enough to believe that Newsweek neither understood the potential from such a comment nor recognized the lack of necessity to report baseless and inflammatory accusations, then we too have become like the proverbial Arab street. Thankfully the majority of the U.S. has not made that fall. As for Newsweek, there is no depth great enough to describe their fall.