AmericanSage

Friday, June 02, 2006

Christian Science Monitor Trivializes Sudan's Genocide, Yahoo Then Buries Story

I picked this story about Sundanese refugees in Israel up from the Yahoo.com wire today, already flustered by the wording of the headline and the placement of quotation marks around the word genocide. I was sure this was the work of some politically correct AP headline hack who insists on upholding that organization's decree that words like terrorist, for example, always be predicated with "so-called," "alleged" or, my personal favorite, "what the United States has referred to as."

It's bad enough that news organizations sacrifice accurate reportage in vain attempts at objectivity. It's worse that in so doing, they actually fail their wider journalistic mission of relating basic facts. Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. The murder and mayhem they promote, execute and reward is not hypothetical or the stuff of harmless rhetoric. Perhaps Western news services should start editing all copy thusly:

"Supposed 'terrorist mastermind' Osama Bin Laden has pledged to 'kill' thousands of 'innocent' Americans in a recent recording perceived by American 'intelligence' officials as a 'threat' to national 'security.' In other news, 10 US Marines were 'killed' in action outside Baghdad yesterday."

Imagine your local news: "32 children 'died' in a school bus accident yesterday. Parents are overcome with 'grief.'"

I think you get the point.

As bad as the AP is on this, it's even worse when coming from a generally reputable source like The Christian Science Monitor, today's actual culprit. The fact that I mistook them for the AP should say enough, but their trivialization of the Darfur GENOCIDE extends beyond the scandalous headline. They pull the whole according to the U.S. thing a few paragraphs in, complete with slyly placed quotation marks. The fifth paragraph ends with the word unquoted. I wonder if that one slipped by whoever's making these decisions at CSM.

All that said, the article is worth reading if only to get a sense of what survivors of another inexcusable genocide are doing to help Sudanese refugees in their midst.

UPDATE: The Darfur story has been replaced on the Yahoo wire with a story about possible racism at the World Cup. Yes, that's far more important.

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