No particular news focus today except the language it uses. I scanned Google News at 11:50 p.m. GMT. Bold/Underlines are the language in question.
Unsubstantiated statements given as if theyÂ’re quotes:
From the Daily Times of Pakistan: MusharrafÂ’s impeachment dominates PA session Â“PML-QÂ’s Amir Sultan Cheema said the president had the right to defend himself against the impeachment motion. He praised Nawaz Sharif as a humble man, but added that Nawaz seemed to be under the influence of Asif Zardari.Â”
Unsubstantiated statements given as if theyÂ’re quotes/facts:
From the Telegraph of the United Kingdom: John Edwards admits to lying about affair Â“He stated he had not been in love with Ms Hunter, an obscure film-makerÂ”
Words commonly used to make unsubstantiated statements sound true while not referencing sources:
From the Associated Press: Security tightens more as Olympics get under way Â“On Thursday, a videotape purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, a militant group seeking independence for Xinjiang, was released with threats of attacks during the Olympics. The group is believed to be based across the border in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaida.Â”
An example of the right way to attribute statements:
From Agence France-Presse: Hundreds attend anti-coup rally in Mauritania Â“AbdahalliÂ’s daughter said Friday she was concerned about her fatherÂ’s safety and security.
Â“I am worried about my fatherÂ’s health and safety given that he has not been freed,Â” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi told AFP from her family home.Â”
IÂ’m not trying to say these stories are completely devoid of truth. IÂ’m pointing out that, even in a story with a lot of research behind it, there can be subtle (or not so subtle) traps for an unwary reader. Politics has taken this twisted art to unbelievably unrefined heights !
TodayÂ’s spiritual quote, about newspapers in the 19 Century, is even more true for the swift transmission of news on the Internet:
Â“The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.Â”
BahÃ¡Â’uÂ’llÃ¡h, Tablets of BahÃ¡Â’uÂ’llÃ¡h, p. 39