May 31, 2009

The headline and lead cry of "exposed corpses" littering Mingora in  this AP piece on the Pakistan fighting.  If you care to follow though by reading the entire report, you'll discover the  charnel house image is  is justified by exactly three bodies -- two of them apparent "insurgents" lying in a cemetery. The facts as reported could just as easily justify a screaming headline about  slothful Pakistani gravediggers.


There is no vast media conspiracy, of the left or of the right. But there is a chamber pot full of miserably non-professional  journalism, and you really hate to see it appear so often  on what was once one of the world's great news services. 

The writer of the three-corpse trash was engaging in a venerable newspaper practice -- reaching for a  gee-whiz headline. We've all done it, but the AP pros  are, or were,  damned careful to make sure the body of the report lends some credence to whatever glorious -- or gory -- image is conjured up in the lead.

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