Over at the Telegraph, exceptionally inept headline writing about Israel

During a moment of procrastination, I checked out the Telegraph, which is the British newspaper least unfriendly to Israel — which isn’t saying much.  Given its lack of the usual British venom, I was therefore a little taken-aback by the ambiguity displayed in its headline about the cruel murder Hamas gleefully committed against four Israelis, two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant (see the right hand column in the screen capture, below):

Jewish settlers attack.”  Doesn’t that make it sound as if the attack was by, rather than upon, the Israelis?  (I won’t even get into the “settler” language, which makes the Jews sound like strangers in their own land.)

The Jerusalem Post, written in Israel, which is not home to the English language, showed a much better understanding of the nuances of that same language, and wrote something that has no troubling ambiguity:

“4 Israelis shot dead by terrorists in West Bank.”  Pretty darn clear (and heartbreaking, too).

I distrust the media enough that it’s hard for me to give writers the benefit of the doubt when something appears that could be merely foolish or that could serve a darker agenda.  The Telegraph is a decent paper, considering that it comes out of a dying socialist nation, but I’m suspicious….

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  • Spartacus

    Actually, I think it would be a mistake to overestimate the literacy and attention to detail of people who edit online news.
    I still remember a big, bold foxnews.com headline in huge font across the top of their homepage:  “BTK Killer Get Life.”  Now, some people are (perhaps understandably) reluctant to commit to new relationships, but hesitation to conjugate even a verb is something I don’t understand.  The headline, wrong from any perspective, could as easily have meant “The serial killer popularly known as the ‘BTK Killer’ has been sentenced to life in prison” or “Duuu-u-u-u-de!  Killing people?  What a loser way to go!  Get a life, dude!”
    Then again, spinning things to the detriment of Israel is pretty normal, too.  Sadly, it could be either explanation.

  • garyp

    I agree with Spartacus on this one.

    Never underestimate how low the educational system has sunk in any western nation.  Of course, my spelling is pretty poor but I was taught how to convey my message clearly.  I am not so sure that anyone educated in the last 20 years really had that skill inculcated successfully.

    If you read business letters, resumes, and even emails (which have a lower standard admittedly) written by recent products of the ever more expensive school and university systems, young people are semi-literate at best.  Perhaps their reading comprehension is adequate (although I doubt it) but their writing skills are pathetic.  And I say this as someone with science degrees that had no English classes for the last 6 years of my education.

    However, a quite possible reason (and the Telegraph is a lot less likely to pull this than any American daily) is not just an effort to show Israel in a bad light but also to avoid offending the darlings of the left (meaning the murderous terrorists that threaten every decent person on the planet.)

    HAMAS murders Israeli’s every chance it gets.  However, the State of Israel does a much better job defending them than our government does.  (We are mostly protected by distance, not by Homeland Insecurity)   However, the people who have suffered the most at the hands of HAMAS are moderate Palestinians (and there are some, or were before the purges).

    At some point, we will either stamp out groups like HAMAS or they will kill us.  The fact that our Fearless Leader’s favorite enemy (the one he keeps very close to him as Sec. of State) just called Arizona a human rights violator at the same time he is sending hundreds of millions to finance HAMAS as it seeks kill it’s own citizens along with Israeli’s and Americans, shows that the libertards do have a sense of humor (or an inability to spot irony).

    God help us if we can’t make Obama a lame duck for the next two and a quarter years by electing a bunch of patriots this fall.  The other idea is to send him on a permanent vacation (maybe a tour of all the great golf courses ouside the US–after all he prefers the company of anyone other than the bitter racists that live in America and God knows they like him better than we do).  No matter how much he and Michelle blow on five star hotels and jets, it has to be less than he is costing us by being in Washington.

  • http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com mikesamerica

    Sorry, but I got distracted by the headline: “Tony Blair: Gordon Brown Tried to Blackmail Me”
    Seems Blairs memoir is really stirring things up across the pond.