Thursday, June 03, 2004
Everyone's obsessed: The Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal continues to consume journalists everywhere -- even at the San Diego Union-Tribune. Today's A1 has an article by Finlay Lewis of the Copley News Service (the U-T is the Copley Press' flagship paper) on President Bush's trip to Europe for the D-Day comemmoration.
The second paragraph:
Long a target of criticism in Europe, Bush will be making his first visit to the continent since the furor over the Iraq prison scandal. Outrage over the photographs of GIs abusing detainees has further damaged his standing in capitals such as Paris, where he will stop en route to Sunday's solemn ceremony overlooking Omaha Beach.
So, we choose to mark President Bush's foreign trips by the Abu Ghraib prison revelations.
Why not use this alternate paragraph:
Long a target of criticism in Europe, Bush will be making his first visit to the continent since the capture of a bearded and filthy Saddam Hussein. The visit comes just days after the Iraqi Governing Council chose a new government and dissolved itself weeks before the June 30 handover of sovereignty.
This is a just as valid replacement, and is more newsworthy anyway. Why? Because the only backup for the mention of Abu Ghraib is far down in the story -- and it's dated.
Compounding the negative views of Bush and his Iraqi policy has been the abuse of prisoners by U.S. captors at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and other lockups in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In an interview last month with a Rome newspaper, the Vatican's foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, termed the prisoner abuse scandal "a more serious blow to the United States than Sept. 11."
This is sufficient basis for the Abu Ghraib reference in the second paragraph? Only if you're obsessed with it.
Sadly, the article makes no mention of UNSCAM -- the U.N. Oil-for-Palaces scandal with its illegal profits for France, Germany and Russia -- that may have influenced their opposition to the war.
We could've done better.
Also in the article: So I'm taking the following slightly out of context -- because it's the French.
"The French are not stupid," said Guillaume Parmentier, an expert on the United States at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris.
Yeah, they're really smart. They made "L'Effroyable Imposture" (The Frightening Fraud) by Thierry Meysaan -- a book claiming that the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon was actually a truck bomb or missile, not a Boeing 757 -- a bestseller.