A major Boston talk-radio station cancelled Newsweek’s weekly program due to the magazine’s false report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Quran at Guantanamo Bay by flushing one in the toilet.
“Newsweek On Air” no longer will be broadcast on WRKO-AM, the station said in a statement today, according to a report by radio blogger Brian Maloney.
The news magazine is under fire for the report in its May 9 edition, which sparked protests and rioting across the Muslim world resulting in 15 dead, scores injured, relief buildings burned down and a setback to years of coalition-building against terrorists.
Newsweek’s Periscope column written by Michael Isikoff and John Barry included a brief item about U.S. military investigators finding evidence that interrogators placed copies of the Quran down the toilet in an effort to get prisoners to talk.
Maloney said he contacted WRKO Program Director Mike Elder, who said he’d already begun to prepare for the show’s eventual removal before this incident, but added, “then, the situation over the weekend with Newsweek saying their report was a mistake, led me to move forward more quickly than originally planned.”
WRKO’s schedule now shows “TBA” in place of the Newsweek program in its Sunday 9 p.m. timeslot.
Maloney said the program’s status with KLIF radio in Dallas-Fort Worth also is up in the air.
Program Director Jeff Hillery said he has asked Dave Alpern, senior editor of “Newsweek On Air,” to run an apology on next weekend’s show.
“I’m waiting for a reply,” Hillery said.
The program is syndicated by Seattle-based Jones Radio Networks, which is behind a number of liberal talk shows running on stations that feature Air America programming, Maloney said.
Stations airing the Newsweek show include WNYC in New York City; KXLY in Spokane, Wash.; WPTF in Raleigh, N.C.; WVOC in Columbia, S.C.; WTOP in Washington, D.C.; KBOI in Boise, Idaho; KTAR in Phoenix; and many NPR stations.
The error by Newsweek is reminiscent of one made by the Boston Globe last May and exposed by WND.
The paper, owned by the New York Times Co., published graphic pornographic photos supposedly depicting U.S. troops gang-raping Iraqi women.
But the photos were fake – taken from pornographic websites and disseminated by anti-American propagandists, and exposed as fraudulent by WND a week before the Globe published them.
Likewise, the photos infuriated the Muslim world, despite the later admission by the Globe that they were published in error and the product of a pornographer’s imagination.