Headlining What Is Neither New nor News

March 6th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Arthur Alpert

We often find the Albuquerque Journal’s editorial agenda hidden in its news columns; management’s opinions shine brightly once we’ve mined, polished and assayed them.

Sometimes, though, there’s no need to dig, no ore, no agenda, just what’s on the surface. Such was the case Monday, March 4, where our daily offered a choice of amateur and unintentionally humorous headlines.

Take, for example, the rubric atop a story on A2:

“U.S. Official to Discuss Citizen’s Killing”.

That could contend for “Least Informative Headline of the Century.”

Attorney-General Eric Holder, it turns out, planned to justify the targeting of American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

Why not sub “AG Holder” for “U.S. Official?” And replace “Discuss,” a dull word, with “Justify?”

But the competition in the “Least Informative” category was lively, including this rubric over a story (A4) on Iranian elections pitting President Ahmadinejad against the Ayatollah Khameni:

“Iran Conservatives in Control”

How helpful.

And on the front page, there was:

“Obama: Attack on Iran Possible”.

There they go again, I thought, headlining what is neither new nor news. This is a habit at the Journal; only a couple of weeks, ago,

February 22, I’d ridiculed it this way:

“Sun Rises in East, Expert Says.”

But then I noticed the N.Y. Times headlined Mr. Obama’s address to the rightwing pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC:

“‘Loose Talk of War’ Only Helps Iran, President Says”.

And the Washington Post wrote this:

“In AIPAC speech, Obama urges Israel to give diplomacy a chance”.

So the Journal headline stressed the (not new) military option while both national newspapers highlighted the President’s push back.

Clearly, this front-page headline wasn’t bumbling. Perhaps there’s another explanation.

Well, we know the newspaper prefers saber rattling, even war-mongering, in the Mideast; syndicated columnists Charles Krauthammer (a neo-con of Iraq War fame), Jonah Goldberg, Cal Thomas and Victor Davis Hanson regularly drown out George Will and Amy Goodman, the less bellicose odd couple.

And we know, and have demonstrated here, that Journal management promotes its editorial views via tendentious headlines.

Still, the President did rap up his rhetoric in this election season so it’s possible, just possible that this headline wasn’t editorial agenda-driven.

PS – It’s early in the week for these dark clouds, so please note Monday’s Journal featured an excellent Joline Gutierrez Krueger UpFront column on kids warning kids against drugs.

There, a silver lining to get through the week by.

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