Apologies for the lack of posting lately. I’ve been working for a campaign, and tomorrow’s the primary. So in lieu of actual content, I’m just going to urge everyone to vote tomorrow! (And if you live in Philadelphia’s 8th Council District, I’m endorsing William Durham for the open seat.)
This isn’t a news site. It’s a commentary blog designed to get people to think about things and start interesting conversations. So I’m not going to cover a story that’s already going to get way more attention than it needs (not to say Osama bin Laden’s death isn’t an important event–it is–but the story isn’t that complicated, and most people are going to get all the information they’ll ever need on the subject in a few minutes of reading or listening).
I will, however, cover the coverage, at least just enough to get people thinking about where their news comes from. Here are a few thought provoking examples:
CNN covered the story about how you’d expect, with way more detail than you’d need. Something tells me they had 90% of this article pre-written and just filled in the salient details at the top. Honestly, this wasn’t really a news story, it was an obituary.
The big headline on the New York Times website initially linked not to a normal article, but to a blog post. This is an interesting development in its own right, the paper of record using one of its blogs in a way that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The way people consume news has certainly changed dramatically.
Skipping to the international scene, the BBC gave one of the most factually ambivalent reports I’ve ever seen. It reads like the reporter was deathly afraid of losing his job over a factual inaccuracy. The “firefight” in which bin Laden was killed is in quotes–twice. I’m not sure where the ambiguity is there. The BBC also refers to Osama as having been merely accused of being behind some terrorist attacks, including the famous 9/11 incident. And now that he’s dead, I suppose we’ll never know…
The Pakistan Patriot has a headline that says it all: “Pakistanis kill Osama Bin Laden. US takes credit.” Though I do appreciate their opening sentence: “Congratulations to the world!” This article is actually the most interesting read of the lot–by far–despite some glaring math and language errors. Some of my favorite quotes:
- Ironically today is the tenth anniversary of “Mission Accomplished”. [Really? 10 years ago was pre-9/11 and pre-Iraq. Also, periods go inside quotation marks.]
- After the celebrations are over in Washington, sanity will begin to prevail. [I'll take that bet.]
- Apparently OBL was killed with a shot to the head. [I love that we're calling him OBL now; move over NPH!]
The Huffington Post coverage never lost sight of what’s truly important: the Phillies-Mets rivalry and how awesome Phillies fans are. USA! USA!
More good news, killing major terrorists comes with perks: according to Businessweek, the stock market got a bump. Also, crude oil prices dropped too. Policy idea: if we kill a terrorist mastermind every week, our economy would be back to full employment inside a year.
Fox News covered the story with their usual level of professionalism and competency, famously declaring Obama bin Laden to be deceased.
I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions. Feel free to use the comments section for discussion.
(Hat Tip to an impromptu research assistant who helped me scan news sites, and who provided her help on condition of anonymity.)
Note: I fully expect content at these link locations to change at least a little bit over the coming hours and days; my comments are in reference to the stories as they appeared at the time of this posting.
[Editor's Note: This post became popular, but then the comments thread started getting spammed. Comments have been disabled. Apologies to anyone who wanted to leave a comment.]