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Newsweek Lowers “Periscope” in Wake of Koran-Flushing Scandal

June 20, 2005 | 9 Comments

New York, New York, June 19, 2005
Special to The Raving Atheist

Chastened by the deadly Muslim violence which left 15 dead after its “Periscope” section published an inaccurate story about the defilement of the Koran by U.S. military personnel, Newsweek magazine has vowed to avoid religious controversy in the gossipy national column.

Consequently, this week’s Periscope features an innocuous item about The God Who Wasn’t There, a documentary which claims that Jesus was fictional. The column — titled “Film: Imaginary Friend?” — likens Christ to the tabloid-created rodent-child named “Batboy”and quotes director Brian Flemming as suggesting that Christians be shunned like filthy, diseased lepers. “The problem is that we let religious people say stunningly false things and we consider it rude to question those beliefs,” Flemming told the magazine, adding that “I’m not tolerant of suspending reason.”

Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker defended the decision to tone down the Periscope. “Bland, simple truths may not sell as well as spicy, unsubstantiated rumors, but we have a responsibility to our readers,” Whitaker said. “However obvious it may be that wine doesn’t turn into water and men don’t rise from the dead, the deluded, ignorant rabble that populates this country needs to have that sort of boring common sense drummed into its collective empty head.” Whitaker expressed regret that the Periscope would soon consist of little but “filler” stories such as “The Real Mary: Mother of Whores,” but said the move was necessary to restore the magazine’s journalistic integrity.


9 Responses to “Newsweek Lowers “Periscope” in Wake of Koran-Flushing Scandal”

  1. Jennifer
    June 20th, 2005 @ 9:33 am

    “I think that the United States is heading in the direction of theocracy,” says Flemming

    As the citizens of Ohio know, we are already there.

  2. Kafkaesquí
    June 20th, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

    What did you expect, an actual review of the film?

    Considering this, and the current cover, will this make Newsweek the Fundies’ Ignore of the Week?

  3. AK
    June 20th, 2005 @ 4:58 pm

    I hope there will be a God Squad review this week!

  4. Con Man
    June 20th, 2005 @ 5:59 pm

    If there is I hope the posed question is “Why the Ameleks?”

  5. Nicole
    June 20th, 2005 @ 10:44 pm

    Interesting that in light of their inaccurate reporting the magazine has decided to stop ‘real’ writing altogether instead of hiring competent journalists. It seems to be a sign of the times that it’s easier to give up rather than put some damn effort into it. Some of the people on this site are better writers than at that ‘so called’ news source. (that’s a compliment even if it doesn’t sound like one)
    Of course, there’s always the idea that it’s in Gods’ hands…er, does that mean we don’t have to really try anymore.

    Citizens of Ohio; my sympathies!

  6. Andrea
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 6:04 pm

    I agree with you Nicole – yet another news source leaving the reporting behind and moving towards a future of applauding the “acceptable.”

  7. bighead
    June 24th, 2005 @ 8:54 am

    can someone please fill me in on what happened in ohio?

  8. sternwallow
    June 25th, 2005 @ 9:24 am

    Based on the above reported riots, we have an excellent opportunity to discover which of the major, “book-based” religions are the best, as in “most true”, “higher moral value”, “rightest”. Simply flush a bible, torah, koran etc in a seaparate series of highly public settings and tally the death toll among the outraged. The religion with the highest body count will be obviously the one that is most inspiring to self sacrifice on its behalf. I suggest that when the vote is in and the religions are ranked, we flush all remaining “holy” books of those religions in which one or more such deaths occurred.

  9. Casey
    June 25th, 2005 @ 11:25 pm

    Can’t imagine why there isn’t some, a little, gratification that Flemming’s documentary was mentioned in this widely read mag, even if innocuously. I think the RA is just taking the opportunity to bash the leftie media again. Wonder what Flemming thinks of the mention.

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