The Battle Over Newsweek's Bogus Koran Story Continues...

The battle over "Newsweek's" bogus Koran story continues. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

This morning, the left-wing print press unleashed a bevy of editorials blaming the Bush administration for "Newsweek's" situation. These articles were eerie. They were so similar and followed the lead of The L.A. Times yesterday.

Reading these editorials is like walking through a liberal theme park. The New York Times says "It has been a year since the very real problem behind the article, the systematic abuse and deliberate humiliation of mainly Muslim prisoners -- came to light through the Abu Ghraib (search) disaster."

The Baltimore Sun picks up the theme. "Given what we...know about prisoner intimidation and abuses at U.S. detention centers, such an act [abusing the Koran] would hardly be surprising."

Over at The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, they're on the same page. "Newsweek editors appear to have accepted that responsibility. They should not have; the White House is simply changing the subject from abuse at Guantanamo to Newsweek's journalism."

And we'll wrap it all about with this from The Oregonian. "The lasting damage to the nation's image has come from years of reports of prisoner abuse in Iraq."

And you don't think there's a liberal media cabal in America? Come on! These editorials sound like they're all written by the same person who says, hey, forget about the bogus story that may have killed people, the Bush administration caused everything. And that mindset is echoed by some in the electronic media.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With respect, who made you the editor of "Newsweek"? Do you think it's appropriate for you at that podium speaking with the authority of the president of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not telling them. I'm saying that we would encourage them to help...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...pressuring them

MCCLELLAN: No, I'm saying we would encourage them. Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad.


O'REILLY: Now that was an ABC News correspondent. I would have slapped him. If I were McClellan, I would have went down and whacked him. All right? Don't use that tone with me.

Now why is the elite media lashing out so vigorously? "Talking Points" believes it's because they are rapidly losing power and influence. The "Newsweek" debacle on the heels of the CBS News National Guard deal has hurt the elites badly. So they're rallying around a common theme -- the Bush administration's bad for America. That's the thread running through all these newspaper editorials. And in the weeks to come, you'll see that thesis is pounded home again and again. And any kind of abuse accusation will be magnified. Any kind of mistake by the military will be used to bludgeon the administration.

So that's what's really going on here. That's the deal. And when you think about it, the elite press reaction to the "Newsweek" situation may be a more important story than what started the whole thing.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

Setting the record straight on Jane Fonda. Now, last night I told Dick Gillespie of Reason magazine that I was not willing to give Ms. Fonda a pass on the accusation she turned over notes from American POW's to the North Vietnamese during her trip to Hanoi.

A web site called has investigated and debunked that accusation. They say it's not true.

Well, we decided to research it. We spent the day doing it. And the indication is that Snopes is correct! The story is bogus. So at this point, lacking any definable evidence to the contrary, Jane Fonda did not turn over any POW notes to the Vietnamese.

We're happy to clarify the record. It would be ridiculous not to do so. All right. Way to go,

I—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: