Monday, May 30, 2005

More Headline Shenanigans

While we are on the topic of headline shenanigans, I read a front page N&O story this morning without reading the headline first. These points in the article on Iraq really struck me:

1. Iraqi and U.S. soldiers arrested a former general in Saddam's intelligence service who was also a member of the former dictator's secret police. (This point was buried at the end of the article) .

2. Operation Squeeze Play has so far netted 627 terrorist suspects. (Even if many of these are eventually released, this is a pretty good haul and we will be able to gather some good information from those apprehended).

3. Operation Lightning is an Iraqi-led mission.

So let's choose a headline:
a. Senior Saddam Henchman Arrested in Iraqi Operation
b. Joint U.S.-Iraqi Operation Nets 627 Terrorist Suspects
c. Iraqi Security Forces Take Offensive with Operation Lightning

And what did the N&O choose for the headline? Military sweeps in Baghdad fiercely resisted

And what was the primary evidence presented in the article to support the headline? Reports of running gunbattles and fighting at a police station that lasted half an hour.

So the terrorists are running away when flushed out and shooting as they run. That is a running gunbattle. And the Iraqi-U.S. forces have become good enough that they can quell an attack on a police station in 30 minutes! Last year it would have taken most of a day to reinforce a station under attack.

Besides the headline, the writer (Liz Sly - an apt name) claims that the new security operation brought no immediate apparent improvement in security! Hint to Liz - military and security operations are not intended to bring an improvement to security when they are happening, they are intended to bring an improvement to security when they are finished. Chaotic Normandy Landings Bring Death, Violence and Chaos - Little Allied Progress Made!

On Memorial Day, read a blog like Mudville Gazette before you read a paper like the N&O, who can't even get the story right on this sacred day.

Have a great Memorial Day and say a prayer for our troops.