Friday, October 07, 2005

Stupid Media Tricks

If you peruse the various headlines in Google News concerning comments made by President Bush, you'll notice many such as this:

Bush: "God told me to invade Iraq"

The Guardian (UK) uses this stunt with a headline of George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq'. There it is, a direct quotation clearly defined by the colon and surrounding quotation marks as recommended by UK journalism standards. Unfortunately, the text of the article does not support the headline.

George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.

So, here we have the Guardian (as well as the Independent and the Scotsman) directly quoting President Bush even though they're actually quoting a senior Palestinian politician named Nabil Shaath. However, the Guardian article has a more senior Palestinian politician, Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, also present at the meeting failing to characterize the President's comments in the same strong language.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, who was also part of the delegation at Sharm el-Sheikh, told the BBC programme that Mr Bush had said: "I have a moral and religious obligation. I must get you a Palestinian state. And I will."

Even Reuters (and MSNBC) observes enough professionalism to get the headline correct.

Palestinian: Bush said God guided him on war

Now that's much better and a much more accurate depiction or the story being reported. The BBC started all of this non-sense by "convincing" Mr. Shaath to reveal his comments publicly, and they have also printed the denial from the White House.

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