Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sadr City

I was cheering when I finally opened the morning's New York Times a few minutes ago. A lengthy story by Michael Gordon whose byline alone means "No one has to read." Thought I was done the paper and turned the page. Alissa J. Rubin's "Shiites in Parliament and Sadrist Movement Reach a Deal on Truce in Sadr City." She reports that the residents of "Sadr City blame both sides" meaning Mahdi militia and the US-Iraqi fighters. If true, they would most likely blame Moqtada al-Sadr who was nowhere to be found during the slaughter. Rubin states the cease-fire resulted after both sides (militia and US-Iraqi military) realized neither was gaining ground. She also reports that residents do not expect the cease-fire to hold.

I'm pulling up the link on another web page but a visitor wrote in to ask why it's stated (by me) that we go with the paper's print headline if there's a difference? Because if that's not repeated nearly daily, a large number of visitors e-mail to say, "You are wrong. The headline is ----! Correct your mistake." I'm almost always dealing with the print version. At some point, with people citing newspaper articles, the paper's going to have to figure out how to stick to one standard. If they don't, people will be less likely to cite them. There is no reason that they repeatedly have different headlines in the print version and the online version. No reason and no excuse. A student doesn't just have to worry about some whiner saying, "You're wrong!" A student has to worry that a teacher or professor might mark them wrong. There's no excuse for it. The online headlines and the print headlines -- for the same articles -- should be the same. And, to be clear, the issue isn't various versions of the same stories. In terms of Iraq, unless it's a 'big' news day, it's one piece filed once. There's only one version of it online (and it's the same version that appears in the paper). So it shouldn't have two headlines. If the paper's employing two teams of headline writers (one for the web, one for the paper), when the paper goes to print, the online headlines should be changed to reflect what the printed version carries. The student issue is especially important because the paper sold TimesSelect (the online subscription) on the basis of it being a wonderful research tool for students.

Leila Fadel's "Sadr City residents fear a cease-fire means more violence" (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the residents:

One day after an agreement between followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and the Iraqi government to end more than six weeks of fighting, the streets in parts of the vast Shiite slum of Sadr City were deserted, amidst signs of a battle. Wires snaked out of potholes and from underneath tires - signs of past or future roadside bombs; abandoned pickup trucks, destroyed by airstrikes, littered the streets, and bullets or shrapnel scarred the houses.
Hussein Abd Sakran walked three hours, holding up a white flag, to escape southeast Sadr City, where U.S. and Iraqi forces battled Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, and took refuge inside the home of his brother-in-law, Raheem Abdul Hassan.
He arrived Saturday after most other residents had fled, in fear that the agreement that would allow Iraqi security Forces into the northeast district would bring more violence. It was a long route in order to get past the barricade the U.S. military is building to isolate the southern edge from the rest of the slum and avoid the gun battles in the southern parts of the area, he said.
Inside Abdul Hassan's home, furnished with colorful rugs and flimsy mattresses, Sakran and his wife hoped for calm after weeks of bombardment and gun battles, but they feared the worst is yet to come.
"We just want peace," Sakran's wife, Suham Bresam, said, her eyes heavy from sleepless nights. "This agreement happened and I was up all night from the gunshots and strikes."

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Biggest crap of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: Bye-bye Cynthia McKinney
TV: Tiny Tots
Barack's message to veterans "Get lost"
The 527 of the Democratic Party (it's Green)
Remember Otto? The Nation appears to forget
Yes, they really are that stupid
Happy Mothers Day

The e-mail address for this site is