January 12, 2005

Nit Pick

I'm going to pick a few nits regarding this yahoo news piece. None of them are too big a deal by themselves, but it's just more evidence of the way the news can be easily manipulated. First, look at the headline:

Iraqi Victim Says U.S. Torture Worse Than Saddam

Well, first of all, I have a little trouble believing that, simply because those people who have looked into it know the kinds of atrocities that were committed under Hussein. But...Is that what the victim really said? Let's look:

An obviously ill-at ease Mutar added: "I was extremely emotional because (even) Saddam didn't do this to us."

Hmm...Okay. You see those parentheses around the word "even"? That generally means that word was not part of the original quote, but rather added for clarity or to make the sentence grammatically correct. It's obviously not the latter, for the sentence is grammatically correct without it. That means the reporter added it. Granted, there's not a lot of difference between the two sentences, but there is a difference. By adding the term "even," the reporter makes it sound like the man quoted is saying that US treatment is worse than that of Hussein...As it states in the headline. The man may, in fact, feel that way, but the quote on its own doesn't make that clear.

The second issue I have with this piece is in paragraph eight:

But investigations have shown many prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba also suffered abusive treatment after the government looked at ways to obtain more information in its war against terrorism.

Investigations? Many? I haven't heard of these investigations--why not mention them by name so I can examine them for myself? How many is many? 15? 150?

Again, I know I'm being nit-picky with these things, but isn't it just as easy to get them right and be specific as it is to get them wrong? Why not quote verbatim? He's obviously read about the "investigations"; why not tell us?

1 comment:

  1. Well, you know, folks have time to become emotional when we have dogs bark at them, deprive them of sleep, and turn them into cheerleaders. Under Saddam, they were just put into pain, then killed. No one was messing with their feelings.