Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NEWS STORY WRITTEN . . . THEN READ

Once again, for your reading pleasure, the Poorly-Worded Yahoo! News Headline of the Day:
Key Obstacle in Forming Iraq Govt Resolved

Hmmm. The "key obstacle" is gone. Now which obstacle would that be? The Civil War that rages daily? The suicide bombings? The general state of anarchy? The anger of the Iraqi people?

Yahoo! News seems to be healthily left of the status quo in the U.S., and appears to oppose the war, though like all of the mainsteam media, they dare not admit this for fear of exposing a "lack of objectivity." Let alone drawing accusations of being "anti-American." But it's type of vague, euphamistic copywriting that makes the American media dead on arrival.

Delivered in the passive voice. The obstacle just "resolved" itself. Which is perfect in a war/nation-building program in which no one admits to anything, whether success or failure.

An undefined "key obstacle." I know it's only the headline, but shouldn't a headline tell the reader what, exactly, the subject is?

So there you have it, folks. Headline writing 101: No active protagonist, just a passive object, worked upon by an unseen actor. And the passive object that's worked upon, the actual subject of the sentence? Undefined.

Then again, perhaps the headline's just a perfect metaphor for the whole debacle.

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