Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This just in: media can't be trusted

One of the things I love about my job is that it gets me ready access to the Early Bird and the Early Bird supplement. For those of you who don't work for The Man, the Early Bird is the Pentagon's daily compilation of defense, military, and political stories from all English sources (admittedly mostly from the United States). I actually get fussy when our email goes down and I can't read it. It's invaluable because it allows me to keep up on all the issues I follow.

But it's also fascinating reading because you can compare how various newspapers report on the same topic. In particular, they have a field day when there's anything war-related going on. As you might imagine, today's issues were chock-full of Fallujah news. And, often happens, the British papers can barely hold in their superciliousness at the savage Americans: "'I Got My Kills ... I Just Love My Job': Toby Harnden in Fallujah observes American soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division taskforce avenging their fallen comrades as battle begins,” says today's London Daily Telegraph. I can see why this would be a news story because I most definitely do not support an excessive military. But I get the feeling that this is covered more because it feeds into the Daily Telegraph's readers' worldviews - those nasty, imperialistic Americans are at it again - rather than provide a cogent, objective reporting of what was happening.

Also entertaining is when two newspapers seem to be on different planets. The New York Daily News claims that "Iraqi Backup Troops Back Out Of Assault,” while the Chicago Tribune asserts, "Officers Confident Of Iraqi Cohorts." Which is it? I would gather somewhere in-between. But it is a good reminder to take these things with a grain of salt.

And I just find the names of military weapons amusing. Lockheed Martin has a new cruise missile out whose acronym is SMACM. Go ahead, I'll wait while you say it out loud. Hee. The cruise missile is going to deliver a smack-down, beeyatch!


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