Monday, January 31, 2005

NY Times: The story is the elections violence

The paper of record today demonstrates the meaning of irony.

The New York Times published today an article entitled "Arab Media Focus on Voting, Not Violence." Here is an excerpt [emphasis mine]:
After nearly two years of providing up-to-the-minute images of explosions and mayhem, and despite months of predictions of a blood bath on election day, some news directors said they found the decision surprisingly easy to make. The violence simply was not the story on Sunday morning; the voting was.
Well, perhaps the voting was the story for the Arab media, but not for the Times. Even in the above paragraph about how the voting was the story, the words explosions, mayhem and blood bath all appear before any mention of voting. Similarly the lede of the same story mentions an insurgent attack and violence before any mention of the election. And remember, this is supposed to be an article about how the story is the voting, not the violence. The Times just cannot face that fact, even in an article purportedly stressing that fact.

Meanwhile, the Times itself made halting efforts to write an upbeat article about the elections, but in the end succombed to its own essential character. As Glenn Reynolds notes, a Times story on the elections originally discussed how the people of Baghdad had defied terrorists and, "showing a new, positive attitude, had turned a corner." But alas, the paper of record just could not let itself run with a positive election story. By the time the story made it into print, the lede had evolved to "Bombs Kill 35." And this paragraph from the original online version of the story had disappeared from the story altogether:
But if the insurgents wanted to stop people in Baghdad from voting, they failed. If they wanted to cause chaos, they failed. The voters were completely defiant, and there was a feeling that the people of Baghdad, showing a new, positive attitude, had turned a corner.
And so the Times explicitly acknowledges that the story in the Arab world is the elections, not the violence. And yet the paper, despite its best efforts, can only bring itself to report on the violence.

Update: Ann Althouse has more on the topic. (Link via Instapundit.)