This afternoon I read the following Headline at CNN.com: Officials: U.S. unsure of al-Zawahiri fate. It, in turn, included this one sentence description: 'U.S. intelligence officials said Monday they were trying to determine whether Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant was at a dinner in a remote Pakistani village and whether he was one of the people killed by a CIA airstrike'.
A. No wonder Europeans and Americans have diverging impressions of US foreign policy and military presence in the word.
B. The facts here are that 18 civilians died, 4 of them children; the US did not tell the Pakistanis what they were doing before hand; and it seems highly unlikely that al-Zawahiri was killed.
So how on earth does CNN conclude that the 'story' can be captured by the line US unsure of al-Zawahiri fate. That headline suggests that 'we almost got our guy' while upstandingly waging our war on terror. There's just one small drawback, we aren't quite sure if he's actually dead. We are, however, very much certain about the fate of the 18 dead civilians, but I guess that's simply not worth reporting. I mean where's the excitement, the intrigue in that? Plus, CNN's headline comes from an official White House source; it's something someone SAID. And that's what objectivity in US media is, right: reporting what each side says. But there's no one to say that the 18 Pakistanis are dead; they're just dead.
Of course, one might protest at my description here by arguing that if one actually reads the full CNN article it does go on to mention the 18 deaths, and even throws in a one sentence paragraph about the thousands of protesting Pakistani citizens. First, I think headlines and spin matter, since a lot more folks will glance at the headline than read the story. However, if one does read the whole story, look at the lovely quote from Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana that comes at the end.:
"Now, it's a regrettable situation, but what else are we supposed to do?" Bayh asked rhetorically. "It's like the Wild, Wild West out there. The Pakistani border [with Afghanistan is] a real problem."
Oh, I see, they're wild fucking savages anyway, so who cares if we kill a few dozen innocent ones in an effort to get the bad guy. I mean 'what else are we supposed to do?'
I was upset when I read the CNN article. I've now made myself sick in writing this entry.