Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Ignatius: "Iran's actions add fuel to Middle East saga"

I seem to be making a career of reading columns twice. Here's another case where the Courier editors, through selective editing and a creative headline, have managed to substantially alter the writer's point.

The original column is titled "15 Britons in a Sea of Intrigue" (free registration required). The roughly 300 words that the Courier left out -- "for space considerations," mind -- include more direct thinking on how Iran's radical Revolutionary Guard may be subverting its own government to create an international crisis and protect its interests. These are not "Iran's actions," as the Courier would have us believe, implying official action, but rather quite the opposite. There's description of how Iran is working diplomatically to resolve the problem, as well as a juicy connection to Israel's Mossad as provocateur that Ignatius turned up but the Courier didn't find interesting.

It is Revolutionary Guard, by the way, not Guards. The Courier slot laboriously changed every reference to the organization's proper name from singular to plural, as if Ignatius meant to refer to individual people rather than a military unit. This is just dumb. My gad, people, you're buying stuff from the Washington Post! Do you really think you're better editors than they are?

Parting shot, Tim: Changing "He is a former deputy defense minister" to "He was a former deputy defense minister" is rock-ignorant -- unless he's dead. Nice move.

Compare the original to the Courier's version.

Update, Apr 5, 3pm: Im just listening to a BBC report on the release of the sailors, in which PM Tony Blair is carefully pointing out that various actors within the Iranian hierarchy seem to be operating independently. This may be a diplomatic move, and it may be an admission that he's been a little too harsh with the Iranian government. In any case it backs up what Ignatius was saying.

Letters: Yellow lights

This is the second LTE I've seen about short yellow lights tied to the photo-radar posts in PV. Is anyone on the Courier following up on the facts here? While you're at it, please follow the money from the happy recipients of tickets to Redflex, the Australian installer, operator and owner of these systems.

Letters: The mummy wakes

Fife Symington's admission a couple of weeks ago that he'd seen the Phoenix overflight by the mile-long whatever-it-was in January '97, then publicly ridiculed the thousands of people who talked about it, reopened a buried story that has really massive implications no matter how you look at it. I love it!

Editorial: "New firearms resolution could lead to problems"

I've been encouraged over the past few months to see the Courier willing to admit that guns are not all good all the time. Perhaps we're finally growing up a little. And no movie reference, thank gad!

P3: "Supervisors appoint Ayers as new county administrator"

Congrats to a distant cousin in moving up the career ladder.

Anyone remember that a few days ago the Supervisors surprised everyone with this agenda item, bypassing normal hiring procedures and public comment? I'll give you that all that formality doesn't necessarily suit our small-town image, but I'd also like some assurance that the Supervisors take seriously their legal obligation to open government. Our county board has a long, deep culture of acting more like medieval doges than elected representatives, and this move is straight down that alley. How about a followup, Paula?

P1: "Board of supervisors select Sundog site"

Once again we find the Queen Bee hectoring all around her for not seeing things her way. Carol: that's a clue. And can we ever talk about Ms Springer's association with Howie Rich?

Oh yeah, and did you catch the typo in the headline?

P1: "City councilman recovering from heart surgery"

Best wishes to Bob for a speedy and complete recovery.

Why in the world has it taken five days for this story to break?

Update, 2:15pm: The grapevine tells me that the City Communications Director was directed from above to hold his press release on this, and the Courier story jumped him. The people above him in the City hierarchy are Mic Fenech, Steve Norwood and Council itself.

Read the story here.