By Scott Tibbs, March 06, 2008
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Herald-Times presents facts, but obscures truth
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 20:58:51 -0500
From: Scott C. Tibbs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Imagine for a moment this story of two hypothetical men, "Cam" and "Jake". "Cam" is carrying his infant child in a backpack designed for carrying a child. "Cam" sees "Jake", a man he does not like, on the street and violently attacks him without provocation. As he is being punched and kicked by "Cam", "Jake" responds by punching "Cam" in the face. "Cam" falls flat on his back, crushing and fatally wounding his baby. Who is at fault for the tragic death of an innocent child? Is it "Jake", who caused "Cam" to fall on his back? Or does the blame fall on "Cam", who instigated the fight by attacking "Jake"?
The front page of the Nation/World section in today's Herald-Times may have been factually correct, but it obscures the truth. It is unfortunate that the H-T chose a banner headline prominently announcing Israel's retaliation to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, but gave very little attention to the terrorist action that provoked the Israeli response. If the H-T applied the same headline to the hypothetical story of "Cam" and "Jake", the headline would read "Baby dies after man punches father in face, causing father to fall on baby."
Ideally, a newspaper story should be both a factual and truthful accounting of the facts of a particular event. It is possible to be factually correct yet still not true, and that is what happened with the front page of today's Nation/World section. A more truthful headline would have brought attention to both the Israeli retaliation and the despicable acts of terrorists who attack civilians while hiding behind innocent people like spineless, sniveling cowards. For example, the headline could have been "Israeli response to Palestinian rocket attack kills 54."
I understand that the article itself was an Associated Press story, not written by H-T staff. However, the Herald-Times is fully responsible for the headlines it chooses in order to draw attention of readers to a news story. Whether it was your intention or not, your headline editorializes against Israel by presenting the story in a way that slants sympathies to Palestinian terrorists. I would urge the H-T to pay closer attention to the headlines it chooses and the message those headlines send.