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State Department Responds to Newsweek Article

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

The State Department is now trying to clean up a diplomatic mess since Newsweek retracted their reports about the United States desecration of the Koran. Even though the magazine's officials have apologized, many said it's simply not enough. As the government tries to make this right, some are afraid this has left a bad taste in the mouths of those countries who are already not too fond of the United States.

"The perception here is not one that would impress very many people of goodwill or good taste, so tremendous harm has been done," said Dr. Robert Turner.

It all started May 9, 2005 when Newsweek ran a story about U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay flushing a copy of the Muslim Holy Book, the Koran, down a toilet to rattle detainees.

Since then, Newsweek has retracted the story, and the State Department is now doing some serious P.R. (public relations), sending out a two page cable to U.S. Diplomatic posts, letting them know it was all a big mistake.

"There's a need to inform people of what the facts are and what our policies are," said Richard Boucher, a State Department Spokesman.

The story sparked several riots through out Afghanistan, where about 15 people were killed. Newsweek admits the information was wrong, but said they never meant any harm.

"We think people acted responsibly and professionally, there's no malice, no institutional bias, just a mistake that was made in good faith," said Daniel Klaidman, Newsweek WA Bureau Chief.

However, some believe the initial decision to run the story was the biggest mistake of all, even if the facts were correct.

"They either knew or should have known that people were going to die because of this story.

Now the White House and other countries are asking Newsweek for more than just an apology, but an explanation as to how this could have happened. Even though some said it may be too late.

"This report caused lasting damage," said Scott McClellan, a White House Spokesman.

So far, no word yet on whether anyone at Newsweek is responsible for the story will be fired.


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