Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Do words mean anything anymore?

Frances Robles describes José Ramón Machado Ventura, Raul Castro's new number 2 man as a "devout socialist". Jose Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain is a socialist. Machado Ventura is a communist. Big difference. Sweden is a socialist country. Cuba is a communist country. This of course along with calling Raul Castro "president". Can a newspaper be trusted when it can't simply call a spade a spade anymore?

H/T: Newsbusters


asombra said...

In a 2/15 front-page Herald story (print version) on the annual Cuban Memorial in Tamiami Park, above a photo of a field of white crosses, the headline read:

Honoring Castro's Foes

Notice the word FOES instead of VICTIMS. In the body of the accompanying article, the Memorial was said to be "honoring victims of the Castro regime", but that phrase was set off in quotation marks by itself, which could be taken to imply that it was the opinion of the people behind the event, but not necessarily that of the writer, or the paper, or even the truth. Accident? Oversight? Coincidence? Freudian slip? You decide.

In a later (2/21) Herald story on the same topic, written by a different reporter, the headline referred to Castro's victims as such. This may or may not be related to some comments posted on Babalu Blog on 2/15 questioning the wording of the 2/15 story.

Carlos Miller said...


Writers never write the headlines to their articles. That is mostly done by the copy editors, who are the final readers of the article before it goes into print.

Many times a word like "foes" will be used instead of "victims" because of space constraints.

I'm just speaking generally and I am not familiar with the incident you mention.

Henry Gomez said...

Carlos, what you say is true but a headline editor is supposed to be a journalist too, no? He's supposed to strive for accuracy too, no? I'd say they have an even higher obligation to reflect accurately the story being told in the actual article. I've documented a couple of cases of misleading headlines here. Do a search in the search box at the top of the blog (nav bar).

Miss Manners said...

I think Ms. Robles should be commended for her exquisite tact and, uh, balance. It's such a relief from those annoying Cuban exiles and their strident tone. Come to think of it, it might not be a bad idea to start describing Stalin as a staunch proponent of law and order. While we're at it, let's refer to Hitler as an ardent Germanophile. No need to get nasty and call people anything unpleasant or, you know, judgmental. Right, Ms. Robles?

asombra said...

Mr. Miller is splitting hairs, which is permissible but hardly persuasive. It's quite irrelevant who wrote the headline; the issue is the intent behind the wording. Also, as I noted, the headline was not the only questionable element of that article.