Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Slanted Headline?

The headline from the AP article, printed in the Detroit Free Press, reads: More than 80 are killed in clashes with Taliban. By now we should know that to get the whole truth of the headline (or at least as much as the AP is willing to print) we must read the article. In this case the reader is rewarded with the facts:
Afghan and NATO troops used rockets, planes and artillery in battles with Taliban insurgents over the weekend in Afghanistan's south, leaving 71 militants and five Afghan soldiers dead in one of the bloodiest clashes since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
That doesn't sound so bad does it? 71 fewer Taliban murderers walking the Earth is a postive development in my book. So why does the headline make this episode sound so ominous?

Obviously the headline writer wants us to be upset at the continuation of violence in Afghanistan. This writer wants us to ignore the fact that every time the Taliban meet American or coalition forces in open battle, the Taliban get slaughtered. In order to bring peace to Afghanistan, one of two things must happen. The Taliban must agree to stop their murderous ways, and that's going to be a long shot, or the Taliban must be destroyed, also a longshot, but not quite as improbable. So, if the headline writer is really interested in peace, shouldn't the bias be in favor of the Afghan and NATO troops?

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