Monday, June 06, 2005

Lileks' Slant on Media Coverage of Koran Story

James Lileks has a new blogging effort, premiering today here. I don't give Lileks a blanket endorsement. I doubt that he would give me one either. But he's a talented writer. Today, he excoriates a media that seems bent on playing up things like the Koran-in-the-Toilet story, which turned out to be false, because of political correctness. One passage is particularly good:
Don't get me wrong. I want us [the US] to do the right thing. I don't think there should be a policy that permits interrogators to treat the Qur'an like it was, oh, a Bible discovered in the Saudi airport customs line. But when it comes to the revelations of these Gitmo tales, I cannot care as much as they would like me to care. I cannot. Not to say we should treat the Qur’an with casual disrespect. But if an infidel touches the book with the wrong hand and people react like a two-year-old whose peas are touching the mashed potatoes, well, I understand why this matters, but when measured against the sins of headchoppery and carbombs, it pales to an evanescent translucence.
Even if one thinks that the detainees ought to be accorded the treatment anticipated under the Geneva Convention, the penchant for the media, through its post-Watergate eyes, to always view the US as villainous, unjust, and suspect plays right into the hands of terrorists. But then, so does the perception that the nation fighting for freedom misbehaving, even to the smallest degree, at Guantanamo.

But Lileks is absolutely right in saying that the desecration of a book, however holy or esteemed, cannot compare in offensiveness to the savagery committed by terrorists against masses of human beings, most of whom supposedly share their own religion.

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