February 11, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Notice (021108)

The contest for most offensive headline of the year might be over. From USA Today last week:

Al-Qaeda tries to salvage image

Al-Qaeda militants operating here have shifted tactics to try to improve their image among Iraqis and avoid the mass civilian killings that alienated the public in Baghdad and other cities, the U.S. military says.

It’s as if “avoiding mass civilian killings” is a difficult habit to break, like smoking or drinking.

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A headline where the punch line is too easy:

CIA Monitors YouTube For Intelligence

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Last week, LaShawn Barber had a column identifying which party has a century-plus legacy of racism. Go there to learn which one.

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Britain losing its bearings, Example 1:

History and citizenship lessons should stick to the bare facts rather than encouraging loyalty to Britain when covering subjects such as the Second World War or the British Empire, the Institute of Education researchers said. Teachers should not instill pride in what they consider great moments of British history, as more shameful episodes could be downplayed or excluded.

The translation is the headline: ” Don’t teach children patriotism.”

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Britain losing its bearings, Example 2:

Britain kow tows to China as athletes are forced to sign no criticism contracts

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes’ contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

Most athletes will tend to avoid controversy anyway, as it has the potential to distract them from their goals and to focus press attention on them during their final weeks of preparation. But this move, clearly as a result of pressure from Beijing, places the height of duress on athletes who want to exercise their consciences, or believe that others should be able to, saying in effect: “If you want to achieve what you’ve always dreamed about, something you may likely never have a shot at again. shut up.” That’s unacceptable.

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The Wall StreetThere Shall Be Open BordersJournal spins California exit polling:

About six in 10 (exit-polled) voters said illegal aliens should either be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship or to stay as temporary workers. Those voters went for Mr. McCain comfortably. A minority of 38% favored deportation, which is closer to Mr. Romney’s position, but the Senator won even 29% of those voters.

Note the absence of a “secure the borders” option.

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