Thursday, February 24, 2005

Daniel Pipes on the Tribune's "US Citizen" Headline

Professor Daniel Pipes is possibly the most insightful commentator on the Middle Eastern politics and the War on Terror. From his blog.

How the Mainstream Media Headlines the Abu Ali Indictment The American government yesterday indicted Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a raging Islamist, with plotting to kill the president of the United States. Details have emerged about his attending the Islamic Saudi Academy and the University of Medina. His fervent hatred of the United States apparently led to his joining up with Al-Qaeda. He had connections to Ismail Royer and the paintball jihadists. His mother wears a niqab. Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) jumped on his cause.

Given all this, how might mainstream media headline the story of Abu Ali's indictment? Here are three examples:
Chicago Tribune: "U.S. citizen charged with plot to kill Bush"
The Guardian: "American accused of plotting with al-Qaida to assassinate Bush
"The New York Times: "American Accused in a Plot to Assassinate Bush."

And then there is this gem:
Detroit Free Press: "Valedictorian suspect in plot on Bush's life."
Comment: Yet again, over-sensitivity to Muslim sentiments obstructs the plain telling of facts – as though Abu Ali's citizenship or class rank were the key factor in motivating him.

A useful headline would read something like "Islamist Charged in Plot to Assassinate Bush." (February 23, 2005)

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