Thursday, May 19, 2005

Do the Henry Two

In a recent column, Richard Cohen comes to the defense of Newsweek:

Newsweek, I am here to tell you, simply made a mistake. Well, actually two. The first was the item itself, which was apparently incorrect and also not appreciated for its cultural punch. No one seemed to understand that when you allege that the Koran had ben flushed down a toilet, it might trigger riots in the Muslim world.

Okay, then, Rich. Given that the outcome of various religious crusades which occurred hundreds of years before America was ever founded is apparently sufficient reason for Muslims to fly planes into said country's buildings, doesn't it seem that a contemporary toilet-flushing of the Koran might lead to trouble with its followers? And absolutely no one at Newsweek grasped this inevitability? Even for a moment?

And then the magazine failed to issue a full-throated retraction and grovel in the manner expected from any institution that gets something wrong, especially the media.

Grow up, Rich. This is a perfect example of the MSM media (and you) coping an attitude whenever you guys are pulled up short for failing to do your jobs correctly. As an indirect result of this journalistic mess, people died in rioting. What if they had been American soldiers? What then? We still don't know what to expect in terms of fallout from this blunder. Abu Graib (which Newsweek obsessed over for far, far longer than Saddam's mass bonepits) is a squib next to this bomb.

The rules for this sort of thing, as Dan Rather can attest, require total abasement, an approximation of what Henry II did after the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170. Only a shortage of monks - 80 of them flogged the king - males this an impractical precedent.

Unlike Dan, Henry was a man about it, at least. Do the Henry Two, Dan!

I confess I've detected no overall antiwar slant in Newsweek...

See Abu Graib comment, above.

Rich goes on to condescendingly spare his readers "any harangue today about the mistakes and lies that got us into Iraq in the first place." Yeah, thanks, Rich. Iraq and Lebanon are better places for people like you. But Rich then wonders why Ann Coulter didn't do the Henry Two for her "mad screed" written after the 9/11 attacks in which she advocated invading Islamic countries and converting them to Christianity. I don't know, Rich, but it isn't exactly The Kingdom of Heaven out there. Christians aren't exactly girding their loins for war in fabled Outremer and elsewhere to convert the heathen. But they and non-Christians are being picked off, blown up, and beheaded so that Muslims may be able to vote, work, raise families, and lead normal lives.

Not that Newsweek takes notice overmuch. Which might be good, because it probably wouldn't get it right.

And Ann would probably beat the monks up, anyway.