When a Story Goes Terribly Wrong

How Newsweek botched its report on prisoner abuse--and helped set off an anti-U.S. firestorm

Journalists strive to be influential. But there can't be many who would hope to affect events the way Newsweek has in Afghanistan. The anti-American street protests that erupted there earlier this month--after the magazine reported that a Pentagon investigation would support claims that guards at the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet--left as many as 17 dead and scores injured.

As it turned out, Muslim sensibilities and the U.S.'s image were not the only casualties. Even after retracting the Koran claim, Newsweek found itself in the center of the storm. In a note...

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