Newsweek, it's time to fight
The headline is everywhere: Newsweek Sorry for Quran Fallout or something similar. You'd think Newsweek's reporting of allegations that have been around for over two years caused the unrest in Afghanistan or something. Of course, that's the retarded line that the entire right-wing blogosphere is pushing, not to mention Scotty McClennan's demand for a full retraction from Newsweek.
So Newsweek--here are your options. You've already screwed up by taking a step backward on this story, but you can't undo that. Remember Dan Rather and 60 Minutes? They got the story right but used some iffy documents to try to take the case to the next level and got ratfucked for it. You're on even steadier ground than 60 Minutes was, but you won't win this fight if you back away from it.
First thing you have to do is realize that Rove and the right-wing blogospehere accord you no respect or quarter--they will destroy you if they can, even if you back down on this story. To them, you are the enemy, and while they may not be able to put you out of circulation, if they can remove your willingness to actually report the news, they'll consider that a victory. But they will never be nice to you--you are an enemy to be destroyed, because you have strayed from the party line and must be made to pay.
So you can either fight back, empty the vault of all the dirt you have accumulated on Bushco over the last five years and blast them into the ether, or you can back away, secure in the knowledge that the people on the right will never respect you as a news organization, and neither will the people on the left. You will have become just one more example of the co-opted news media. Don't do it. You've seen what's happened to Time Magazine over the last few years--in fact, you've benefited from their descent into irrelevance. you've seen what happened to CBS and 60 Minutes when they bowed to pressure. Don't follow them down.
Quick update: Newsweek is fighting back, not loudly enough or strongly enough in my opinion, but they are fighting back, defending their reporting the way they should. Support them--drop them an email letting them know that you appreciate the stand they're taking and how it's necessary that they be part of an independent news media.
Update 2: Stupid, stupid, stupid