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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Can a Publication Commit Murder?

We see it all the time. A person the victim of violence, killed or wounded by a gun, and the anti-gun lobby starts the ball rolling screaming that the guns are to blame and the gun industry is responsible. The industry, they argue, is responsible for the death and violence their product creates.

It is a terribly flawed argument, but courts have granted the argument with having at least some merit. The tools of destruction can be traced back to their maker, and the maker knows or should know that the tools of destruction can fall into the wrong hands and ultimately lead to terrible tragedies. The makers of such tools must, therefore be held at least partially responsible for the havoc their product creates.

-Again, I do not subscribe to such a theory but I have always believed that a successful argument, even a flawed one, can be useful. Take, for instance, the recent Newsweek disaster in which unsubstantiated allegations were published for no other apparent reason than to inflame and destabilize one of the most politically tumultuous regions of the world by fanning the flames of anti-US sentiment with uncorroborated accounts of US wrongdoing.

Newsweek ran a false story which they knew would incite violence and chaos throughout the middle east... they ran the story because they hate the current administration, they hate the idea of US Imperialism (even though we liberate, not conquer), they hate the US military, and they hate freedom. Newsweek ran a story based on lies that could only hurt America and the lie ran its course... riots ensued, people died, the terrorists ranks swelled with new recruits as the propaganda machines fired up. Our soldiers who spend their blood fighting for freedom faced harsh attacks because of a reporter's lie.

By now you may be wondering what the gun industry and the US news media have in common. If it isn't already painfully clear, each product, when used carelessly can lead to the deaths of innocent people and bring about terrible tragedies. We have all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. Well the printed word is many thousands of times over more powerful than a gun. If the gun manufacturers should be held responsible for the violence their product creates why not apply this same principle to the media and hold them too responsible for the blood that falls on their hands.

Newsweek ran a story that can directly be traced to the deaths of Muslim protestors. The Newsweek story will also likely lead to the deaths of US soldiers. Newsweek published an article under the guise of free speech which both incited violence and was wholly inaccurate. I think such speech is NOT protected and that Newsweek SHOULD be held responsible for the rhetoric they published and the damage that ensued.

The whole nasty affair makes me wonder whether a publication can commit murder.
Read More from other authors:
'Newsweek' article a traitorous act
Newsweek’s retraction not enough
Newsweek retracts story that killed 16
Newsweek's gaffe -- damage is done
Muslim Reaction to Newsweek Apology: Too Little, Too Late

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