Monday, July 28

Muslim fanatics execute 14 bus passengers--AP buries the murders in 6th graf under title "Afghan warlord warns against pact with U.S."

There's a mistake taught to journalism students, called "burying the lede."  That's when a novice puts the most important part of a story in the 5th or 9th paragraph.  In theory newspapers should put the most important info right at the top, right?

But sometimes this isn't a mistake.  Rather, newspapers or networks or wire services with an agenda will put a dull title on a story, make the first few 'grafs fit the dull title, and bury the "OMG" part several 'grafs down.   This ensures that most readers bail out of the story before the bombshell part.

Example:  Last Friday in western Afghanistan, members of the Taliban--i.e. fanatical Muslims--stopped a passenger bus, identified 14 Shiite Hazara passengers, including three women, bound their hands and shot them dead, an official said.

Now, as far as Americans are concerned, Muslim fanatics have been killing people for the last 13 years, so at first glance this may not sound like news.  But consider:  In this case the people killed by the thugs weren't drug dealers or Christians or people (gasp!!) watching the World Cup.  Instead the thugs stopped a bus, identified members of a competing faction of Islam--including three women!--and shot them dead.

You have no idea what you're facing, America.

And to help keep you from getting an idea, we have this same story as printed by the Associated Press.  Published under the totally dull title "Afghan warlord warns against pact with U.S.", here are the first six paragraphs (and you can skim the first five as they're dull/boring):
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — In a blow to hopes for peace talks, the Taliban's reclusive leader warned Friday that a bilateral security pact allowing thousands of U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year will mean more fighting.

The Americans and NATO allies are winding down combat operations but want to leave a residual force to help train Afghan security forces and conduct counterterrorism operations amid fears government troops are ill-prepared to face a relentless insurgency and the security vacuum could pave the way for an al-Qaida resurgence in the country.

President Barack Obama has announced he wants to leave nearly 10,000 Americans in Afghanistan for two more years. The Afghan government has agreed in principle to a security agreement that would allow them to stay but the deal has yet to be signed. Both candidates vying to replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai have promised to sign it, but they are locked in a dispute over election results.

Mullah Mohammad Omar called on the candidates not to sign the agreement.

"We believe the war in Afghanistan will come to an end when all foreign invaders pull out of Afghanistan and a holy Islamic and independent regime prevails here. Presence of limited number of troops under whatever title it may be will mean continuation of occupation and the war," he said in a message issued ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The message was translated into Dari, Arabic, English and Pashto.

Violence continued Friday. Taliban insurgents halted minibuses in the western province of Ghor, identified 14 Shiite Hazara passengers, including three women, bound their hands, then shot them dead by the side of the road, an official said.
Obviously no sane American reader cares about what some Afghan warlord says about some contemplated agreement.  No rational person believes the Taliban--or any other Muslim group--will honor any agreement in any case.  The shocking part of the story is buried in the 6th paragraph.

Ask yourself why the AP chose to write the story this way.

Maybe they skipped that day at J-school.


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