Thursday, February 15, 2007

A tale of two headlines

On the upper right hand corner (where it will get the most attention -- in the US we read left to right) of the New York Times this morning is the headline "Bush Declares Iran's Arms Role In Iraq Is Certain." The Los Angeles Times, on the same story, headlines with "Tehran's Iraq role unclear, U.S. now says."

Now considering the New York Times put their nonsense on the front page Saturday, you might think they'd be rushing to make things as clear as possible. The headline doesn't. The headline adds to the series of articles they've run in the last few days which, to the rushed reader, give the impression that, as their headline proclaims "Iran's Arms Role In Iraq Is Certain."

Now at some point, the paper (and the press) may return to an earlier whine and wonder, "Why do people still believe the lie that there was a link between 9-11 and Saddam Hussein?" If that happens, it needs to be noted that for all the 'qualifiers' (not that many) that have been added since Michael Gordon became the joke of the week for journalism -- You have to crawl the sewers of unsourced stenography on your belly to reach the mental cavity that is the mind of Gordo -- the New York Times was more than happy to erase their minor efforts (since Saturday) at offering any journalistic skepticsm by running with the headline that includes the words "Iran's Arms Role In Iraq Is Certain."

The article itself (written by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Marc Santora) isn't as hideous as the headline (which they didn't write), but paragraphs deep as opposed to the blazing headline, what does the paper really think will burn through eyes of readers today?

But let's compare Stolberg and Santora's opening with that of Borzou Daragahi and James Gerstenzang (Los Angeles Times). First up, the double the double S of Stolberg and Santora:

President Bush said Wednesday that he was certain that factions within the Iranian government had supplied Shiite militants in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs that had killed American troops. But he said he did not know whether Iran's highest officials had directed the attacks.

That's the Times of New York, the Times of Los Angeles?

U.S. officials from President Bush to a top general in Baghdad said Wednesday that there was no solid evidence that high-ranking officials in Iran had ordered deadly weapons to be sent to Iraq for use against American troops, backing away from claims made by military and intelligence
officials in Baghdad this week.

Now one goes with reporting and a strong opening ("no solid evidence") and the other reads like Oh-My-God!-Did-you-hear-what-happened-yesterday-in-the-cafeteria? (Check out Doug Mills photo on A10 of the New York Times which Billie says appears to feature the Bully Boy attempting to entertain the press with his impersonation of White House dog Barney.)

Let's stay with the New York Times and do it quickly. Worth noting? Damien Cave's "U.S. Reverses on Cause of Copter Crash." There's an e-mail this morning asking why we didn't note this admission by the military? I believe that was made on Tuesday, late Tuesday. Time is pressed right now (and this is a dictated entry) and if you go back to when the CH-46 crashed last week, I don't believe you'll find the snapshot pretending that it was anything other than what it was. From Cave's article:

A Marine transport helicopter that crashed last week northwest of Baghdad was shot down, the top United States military spokesman in Iraq said Wednesday, reversing the military's earlier contention that mechanical failures had caused the crash.

The flack Cave's referring to is Willie Caldwell, Giddiest Gabor in Green Zone. Rachel L. Swarns "U.S. Considers Broader Visa Plan for Iraqis" attempts to find the positive in the laughable efforst regarding Iraqi refugees (see Elaine's "Disgusted" for a discussion on this and other things). Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Damien Cave's "Few Encounters in Sweep of Baghdad, the Americans' First Under Bush's Security Plan" should be skipped -- "Bombs, mortar shells and gunfights left at least eight people dead across the city" is worth skipping (click here and do the math).

What else? (Pru will cover what Alan Cowell bungles in tomorrow's round-robin.) Michael Gordon gets two solo quickies off. "A Prewar Slide Show Cast Iraq in Rosy Hues" could be a real article in the hands of a real reporter but when you only have one hand to report with . . . Skip Gordo and go to the National Security Archive. Then Gordo attempts to an impossible mission -- redeeming his digraced name -- with "Why Accuse Iran of Meddling Now? U.S. Officials Explain." If people want to explain, they need to go on record. Willie Caldwell was already outed as one of the unnamed by Sunday so naming him today is not "bravery" and Gordo's offering no "reporting" but he does lean heavy on the unnamed yet again.

One thing to consider as the Bully Boy seems to retreat -- how big was the rollout to accomplish what was wanted? There is no proof of anything with regards to Iran, yet notice how, some on the left, in their desperation, seemed willing to accept some elements to disprove the larger ones? You better believe Bully Boy noticed . . . long ago and that this "give" by the left and "take" by the right is noted, known and planned for.

We'll note this from Peter Spiegel's "Bush: Redeployments to Iraq don't hurt troop morale:
The president doesn't believe redeployments to Iraq are taking a toll
" (Los Angeles Times) because it appears to have been forgotten:

The issue of troop morale has bubbled up repeatedly during the debate on Capitol Hill over legislation that would criticize the administration's decision to increase troop levels in Iraq. Some backers of the Bush plan say any congressional resolution condemning the buildup would undermine morale.
The issue also emerged in surveys of active-duty troops, whose opinion of Bush's handling of the war has plummeted in the last year. Among military personnel, only 35% approved of Bush's handling of the war during 2006, down from 54% a year earlier, polls by the independent Military Times newspaper found.

And one more time, from Courage to Resist, noted by Brad:

Demand Army drop charges and accept Lt. Watada's resignation now!
Next step following mistrial victory: Demand that the Army respect the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy by not attempting to court martial him again. Also:
"How Lt. Watada and GI resistance movement beat the Army"We (heart) "Augie"
U.S. Army Spc. Agustin Aguayo is a Iraq War vet facing court martial in Germany on March 6 for refusing to return to Iraq. Send him a Valentine's Day support greeting!
Mark Wilkerson refused to redeploy, sentencing Feb. 22
"There comes a time in a person's life when they must do the right moral decision for themselves, doubtless of how popular," he told the media in Crawford, Texas last August. (link only)
Ivan Brobeck, Iraq vet and war resister, released from brig!
Marine L/Cpl Ivan Brobeck was released from the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia on Feb. 5, three months after returning to the United States from Canada with a letter to President Bush asking him to "Bring the Troops Home Now!" (link only)

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