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I Hate You Reuters

Why is this:

Bush, who avoided combat in Vietnam while serving as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, calls himself a war president for his re-election campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

even in this story? It has exactly nothing to do with the rest of the item and is completely irrelevant to the story at hand. There’s also this:

However, Iraq has become a political liability for the president in recent months, with the approaching June 30 handover to an Iraqi interim government overshadowed by insurgent violence and a scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

I’ll agree that Iraq might be a good place for Bush’s opponents to talk about how their policy would be better, but that whole paragraph is an opinion. I’m so sick of bad news writing that I don’t even want to bother reading news anymore, and that’s quite sad.

UPDATE: A hugely long Den Beste piece on news coverage here

  1. mugu says:

    i love this steooooooooooooooooooo

  2. Timothy says:

    Yes, they are definitely of suspicious parentage.

  3. flb says:

    i still like calling people “enemy non-combatants”. or, “mercenaries.” but then again, i took this class on the law of armed conflict, and now i love me some geneva convention terminology. also, i love “scare” quotes.

    anyway, yes. language that colors the whole mood of a story that’s got nuttin’ to do with the point is bad journalism. bastards.

  4. Timothy says:

    Point taken. The thing I’m getting sickest of is the whole “militant” thing. They’re not militants, you fucking jackasses, they’re terrorists. Okay, they might be both militants and terrorists, but the former doesn’t have nearly a negative enough connotation.

  5. WWB says:

    Speaking of favorable coverage of terrorists, there’s also this. But note the scare quotes in the subhead — apparently the Post isn’t even sure if they’re terrorists, either.

  6. WWB says:

    I may not like what’s in the second sentence, and the writer’s overall impression may be arguable, but I don’t think its inaccurate. Abu Ghraib and insurgent violence (Don’t they mean “terrorism”? Wait, I forgot. Reuters thinks they might be freedom fighters.) indeed pose a problem for Bush’s reelection.

    But the first sentence is all wrong. Yes it may be a fact, but it’s also a particularly egregious case of framing the story to fit a bias. Where is the sentence that says “Kerry, who served in Vietnam only after failing to avoid service, and later joined an anti-war veterans group that reportedly sought the assassination of several U.S. senators, returned to Boston that evening.” It needn’t be that harsh, of course. But if a skeptical eye is to be turned on one candidate, it should be for both.

  7. Timothy says:

    Wait, I didn’t read the damn sentence correctly, ignore the parenthetical above. Yes, the first example is a statement of fact. I’m literate, I swear it.

  8. Timothy says:

    The first sentence is definitely a statement of fact (well, except maybe the “hero” business about Kerry, but I’ll give it to him, as if I was the arbiter of such things to begin with). The point is that it’s completely irrelevant. I think the second one, however, is sort of up for debate.

  9. flb says:

    while those two sentences are certainly intended to color the item, they’re actually not mere opinions. bush did avoid combat, he did serve (i suppose this is up for grabs, wink wink) as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, he does call himself a wartime president, and John Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran. Iraq has become a political liability (see any number of polls out showing the President slipping, particularly on Iraq), the June 30 handover is approaching, but the news of it has been overshadowed by what the NYT is calling an unraveling truce that led to two more American GIs dying today, and the scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

    i know, taken together, they color the article, and they may not ‘belong’ in the piece, but let’s just be clear about what an ‘opinion’ is.

    jesus i bore myself.

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