Compare and contrast

Reader William Katz writes regarding the Washington Post:

There’s something fascinating about today’s Washington Post. There are two major stories about the Mideast. The first is by Jonathan Finer and Molly Moore. It reports yesterday’s action by the European Union as follows:

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels called for “an immediate cessation of hostilities to be followed by a sustainable cease-fire,” watering down some members’ demand for an immediate cease-fire. Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark — some of the Bush administration’s closest allies — pushed through the new language, diplomats said.

The second story is by Colum Lynch. It reports the same action this way:

The European Union’s 25 foreign ministers called Tuesday for an immediate cessation of hostilities in southern Lebanon and expressed their “readiness” to serve in a multinational peacekeeping force there once Israel and Hezbollah agree to halt their fighting and settle their political differences.

The agreement increased international pressure on the United States to press Israel for a halt to its military offensive. It also complicated U.S. diplomatic efforts to quickly stand up a multinational force under the mandate of the United Nations and carrying the authority to check Hezbollah’s ability to attack towns in northern Israel.

Notice that the first story gives a complete quote – “an immediate cessation of hostilities to be followed by a sustainable cease-fire…,” whereas the second truncates the quote – “an immediate cessation of hostilities in southern Lebanon…” The second is deceptive. The first story signals at least a partial victory for the United States, the second a substantial defeat.

The stories run right next to each other on the paper’s website. It’s incredible that an editor didn’t notice.


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