Saturday, December 08, 2001
Bad journalism of the day: A U.S. News & World Report online "Exclusive" bears the headline: "Muslim behind bars, despite judge's order." Sounds serious, huh? Sounds like the Ashcroft Justice Department is not following the law, right?
We really can't blame the headline writer though, he probably only read the lede.
A Turkish Muslim from White Plains, N.Y., held in a New Jersey jail for more than two weeks, remains behind bars, despite a judge's order that he be released.
This is serious. Federal officials defying a judge's order. A definite clash between the Judicial and Executive branches of government. An assault on civil liberties, right?
You've got to read down to the sixth paragraph to find out that:
This week, in a hearing closed to the public, an immigration judge ordered Kula immediately released. But when immigration lawyers said they intended to appeal the decision, the judge's order was automatically stayed, and Kula was sent back to jail.
A stayed judge's order means that it does not take affect until an appeals court judge has his say. This happens all the time. It's not that uncommon. What is uncommon is for a publication like U.S. News & World Report to publish stories so designed to inflame passions.