October 1, 2003

Reuters Watch

From Reuters: Police Open Fire to Break Up Iraqi Jobless Protest:

Police opened fire on Wednesday to break up crowds of angry jobless Iraqis -- including former soldiers -- demonstrating in Baghdad and Mosul as frustration at the country's economic woes boiled over. In another of the virtually daily attacks on occupying forces, a female U.S. soldier was killed and three of her colleagues were wounded by a bomb near a former palace of ousted leader Saddam Hussein used by the U.S. military as an army base.
You might think from those first two sentences that US troops did the shooting. But if you go here, it is clear that Iraqis did the shooting. That being the case, the first two sentences of the Reuters article have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The second sentence is completely unrelated to both the first sentence and to the headline.

Also, did the Iraqi police shoot at people or did they fire their guns in the air? Who knows? The reporter does, but he doesn't feel like telling us.

The Reuters piece doesn't lie. It's just sloppy and ambiguous. It misleadingly links unrelated facts, and it leaves the critical details fuzzy.

A high school student could report better than this.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, the second link in this post no longer points where it did when I posted it. The url at the other end is no longer related to this story.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 1, 2003 2:51 PM
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