While this of course offered primarily as an excuse, it is also a case of throwing someone else to the wolves. In particular, the excuse that the “Arab Street” convulses in violence because of evil done by the USA. Now that it’s something done by Old Media, suddenly the fact that Arabs human beings responsible for their own actions and not just puppets on an American stage is a useful fact. As Instapundit notes, it will be very hard for Old Media to get this spilled ink back in the bottle the next time they want to blame Chimpy Bushitler for upsetting the crazies in the Middle East.
To me what’s interesting is two fold. There is of course the hoisted by their own petard aspect, where the root cause of the problem is the combination of Bush hatred and disdain for the USA military. That set up the false story so that not even Old Media could blame the Forces of Evil (i.e, the Bush Administration and the Pentagon) for the subsequent events. That leads to the second interesting part which is that, since Old Media itself can never be to blame, the only other available target are the rioters and their exhorters. So one has a fake story forcing Old Media to finally break down the filters they’ve used to fake other stories about the state of the Middle East.