Newsweek later said its report had been based on information provided by a government official it did not identify and conformed to similar accusations made by former detainees. In its apology and retraction, the magazine said the unnamed official had later confided that he was no longer certain of the information he had provided, and the magazine said it could no longer stand by its assertion that an internal military investigation had confirmed the act of desecration.
There have been conflicting opinions as to whether the Newsweek report was a direct cause of the deadly rioting.
Afghanistan's government has demanded that Newsweek be prosecuted for this story:
Pakistan joined the international criticism of the magazine's article and said Newsweek's apology and retraction were "not enough."
The article, published in Newsweek's May 9 edition, said U.S. investigators found evidence that interrogators at the military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, put copies of Islam's holy book in washrooms and flushed one book down the toilet to try to get inmates to talk.
The article sparked protests in several other Muslim countries.
So Newsweek's editorial staff reviewed an unsubstantied story and ran with it, knowing full well what the reaction of the Muslim world would be at such news. What happened to their usual journalistic standards of checking out stories? Instead they ran a rumor from one source. The question is, why?
The editors and journalists of Newsweek pride themselves on their deep knowledge of the muslim world, it is impossible to believe they could not know this story would cause deaths and mayhem. Death and mayhem was apparently Newsweek's explicit goal, because that would serve a more important purpose: Scoring political points against the Administration in Washington.
Is this what journalism has come to? Apparently the defense in some quarters is that these Islamic extremists would have killed people for any reason, so no big deal. Wrong.
This Newsweek story was released without fact-checking for the express purpose of harming America's image. Newsweek placed all of our troops worldwide in greater danger, by telling the world that our prison wardens were flushing Korans instead of handing them out. (As they did in Cuba.)
Newsweek's intent was pretty clear, it's their thought process that is equally disturbing. The staff at Newsweek wanted this story to be true, because this is how they think of America's soldiers, America's military. Just as Dan Rather and Mary Mapes "wanted" the National Guard story to be true, so they reported it and the facts be damned.
2. The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation.
(Source: Houghton Mifflin )
Whatever the people at Newsweek are, they're not journalists.