Fisking? In the Lede? Shocking!

Found on memeorandum. The Atlantic passes on something from AFP (via Brian Beutler).

AFP tries a revolutionary experiment in writing their story in such a way as to make readers better informed about the issue at hand rather than more familiar with the president’s propaganda. Here’s the lede:

US President George W. Bush charged Monday that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons — an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Oh, my! Imagine the world we might live in if this were the standard way to open a newspaper story about the president making a false or misleading claim.

Actually, Matt, fact based reporting would simply report the actual words that the President spoke. Inserting opinions about what the entire country of Iran has said is not fact based reporting on what the President said. It is editorial. It is propaganda meant to inoculate the reader against drawing his or her own conclusions about what Bush has said, as if the reader is too stupid and uninformed to be trusted with the awesome responsibility of making a decision.

That is the problem with the mainstream media in a nutshell.

We report; We decide what’s important; You buy advertised products.

–Mainstream Media Slogan

If we were to take seriously the wish to add context to the report, the reporter would have also mentioned that Iran has been in a state of undeclared war against the US in Iraq, training and equipping not only Shiite but also Sunni terrorists who kill both Coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians, sending numerous military-trained Iranian spies into Iraq in both operational and advisory roles, hosting the Al Qaeda shura council including Saif al Adel and Saad Bin Laden, giving free passage to terrorists such as Zarqawi, threatening to wipe Israel off the map with one hand while rushing to enrich Uranium with the other, and making a practice of kidnapping US and British citizens and holding them hostage ever since 1979. This is more than “tension” between the two countries, as if you were a schoolmarm grabbing two feuding boys by the earlobes and dragging them to the cloakroom to sit on stools and think about what they have done.

Plus the Iranian government are all-around mean people who routinely execute people who protest against the government, criminal minors, adulterous women, and homosexuals.

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