Dec 15, 2012

Newtown and Reuters

I get blue when learning of tyke death, whether singly or in wholesale lots. Under the influence of emotion I offer only poor analyses. So on Newtown, I want to restrict myself to nibbling around the edges for  while.

We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said in apparent reference to the influence of the National Rifle Association over members of Congress.

Let's parse that into two word-sets -- everything before "Obama said" and everything after.

The president is to be excused. His words are ritual. Both ends of the boat are sinking so we all must bail. We must end the manifestations of evil which are part of Mankind Stew. And we must be bipartisan. The Prominent Class is conditioned to so remark, not unlike the retail clerk's "Have a nice day."  So I leave him alone on that and recognize that he, too, undoubtedly was sad.

The rest of it quietly illustrates an ugliness of journalism. In what was presented as a workaday spot news report, the reporters assume the misty robe of the Oracle. They reveal to us a meaning which only they have the wisdom to discover.  The president used only three operative nouns in his sentence. Not one of them referred to the National Rifle Association, nor weapons of any kind. His sentence would have been perfectly appropriate and pertinent had the tragedy been a fire.

But two decided he meant the NRA and implied he was noble to do so. They wrote it.  Someone copy read it. And at least one senior editor cleared it for world wide distribution on wires of a once-great news service. It was, in fact, Reuters' opening salvo in the war to shift blame from the man who murdered to those who did not.

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