Friday, February 01, 2008

Missing Detail

NPR reported tonight on the bombing in Baghdad. They did not mention that the explosives were attached to unwitting mentally disabled women and were set off remotely. Even on a callous, man-bites-dog level, that information is the important part of the story. It is desperately shameful that NPR did not mention this.

One can speculate why they would leave this information out, and conservatives certainly will be speculating. I am not especially interested which deceptive reason turns out to be the real one. I simply note: put yourself in their situation, with this story coming over the wire from AP or Reuters or whatever. You know what has occurred in Baghdad. Now you are writing copy that announcers on "All Things Considered" are going to read out loud to millions of people. You leave the key fact out.

A newswriter who contemplates this omission in the dark hours of the night should become suicidal with guilt. After having done such a thing, a moral person should be unable to show up at work the next day.

People farther down the queue have some excuse. If they were not told this, how they pass it on will be colored with their previous biases, as would happen for any of us. We might fault them for not exercising due diligence in seeking out the truth before passing it along, but that evil is several orders of magnitude less condemnable. Someone, somewhere - and probably a series of someones across American newsrooms - knew this and left it out.

7 comments:

David said...

Certain journalists also chose to under-report the atrocities of Saddam Hussein's regime, in order to protect their "access." See my post Journalism's Nuremberg.

Dubbahdee said...

Could it be that the information in question was not verifiable by the reporter at the time of reporting? I heard it reported on a NECN this morning and the condition of the woman was mentioned. I heard another report on NPR this afternoon that did NOT mention it. In absence of evidence regarding the reporter's intent, is it not just as reasonable to assume that it was actually a matter of journalistic integrity?

I'm not leaping to the defense of NPR out of loyalty. I'm simply suggesting that there may be other explanations than the sinister one. Let us not fall into the trap of crying about the widespread left-wing conspiracy too quickly. It can smack of a certain undependable shepherd boy.

Cappy said...

Shameful, but to be expected from NPR.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I dunno, dubbahdee. If I already knew it at 6pm, why didn't they? I grant the theoretical possibility, but find it unlikely. They had very detailed info about the day's employment numbers.

David said...

Regardless of the reason for this specific omission, it is very common for the media to leave out information which portrays the full viciousness of our enemies.

Why?

I think in many cases, the decision-makers are afraid of the American people, whom they view as wild beasts, and belive that information flow must be carefully controlled to avoid unwanted reactions by said beasts.

Dubbahdee said...

I withdraw my earlier comment. After a little searching it is clear the multiple news outlets reported the fact of the women's disabilities. Seems less likely that it was a problem of verification.
NPR did not hesitate to report on the fact that the heads of the two women were found some distance away from the blast. Yeah...interesting what's included and what's left out.

Doctor of Manliness said...

If they reported it, Democrats would lose votes. That is The reason. It would mean the the Americans are not the bad guys and we couldn't have that. How would the planet earth react if we did something like that. No wait, how would they react if we made someone put underwear on their head.