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White House Calls on Newsweek to Help Repair US Image
VOA, Washington
17 May 2005

The White House says Newsweek magazine should help repair damage to America's image caused by a now-retracted story about the alleged desecration of the Koran at a U.S. military prison.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the Bush administration appreciates Newsweek's retraction of the story as what he calls a good first step.

Now, Mr. McClellan says the magazine should help counter some of the fallout from the article which alleged that U.S. military personnel flushed parts of the Koran down a toilet at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "The image of the United States abroad has been damaged. There is lasting damage to our image because of this report and we would encourage Newsweek to do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done, particularly in the region," he said.

Mr. McClellan says Newsweek can do that by writing about how they got the story wrong and by publicizing the practices of the U.S. military when it comes to handling the Koran. "The military put in place policies and procedures to make sure that the Koran is handled with the utmost care and respect. I think it would help to point that out because some who are opposed to the United States have taken this report and exploited it and used it to incite violence," he said.

Mr. McClellan says the White House is not telling Newsweek what to print but is instead encouraging editors there to help repair the damage from a story which the White House says has had serious consequences.

The report sparked violent protests in several countries, including Afghanistan, where at least 17 people were killed.