Sunday, March 06, 2005

NY Times, Crossthreaded

"Tom Maguire at Just One Minute in discussing the New York Times changing positions and complete lack of short term memory, snipped this paragraph:
"In Iraq, a brutal insurgency still competes for headlines with post-election democratic maneuvering. Yesterday a suicide bomber plowed into a crowd of Iraqi police and Army recruits, killing at least 122 people - the largest death toll in a single such bombing since the American invasion nearly two years ago". What I've italicized and bolded fascinates me. "Still competes for headlines...". Competes with whom? Does the Times even see the irony in that? The terrorists have had little problem making Times' headlines. Blow up a car, make the headlines. Hold an election,...

The excerpt above also included this bit of past-imperfect rewrite: "Still, this has so far been a year of heartening surprises - each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance". (The Times certainly didn't. Have they changed sides for keeps?) It was only January the Times said: "The coming elections - long touted as the beginning of a new, democratic Iraq - are looking more and more like the beginning of that worst-case scenario. It's time to talk about postponing the elections".

Notice the always-point-out-the-increased-magnitude, "largest death toll since..." Do they have these phrases booted up somewhere, like mathematical formulas, hit the key, screw in the words? Is there an automatic prompt on all the computers? The Times' language is all cross threaded. They jam sentences and ideas together sleight-of-hand; fine-thread events forced onto coarse thread explanations . They grip but don't hold. Is this reporting? It is certainly not good journalism.

No comments: