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Tuesday, August 28, 2007


 

Misreading the news


The item below mentions Fidel Castro's latest column, which discusses American politics. Here's a direct quote from the column:
Today, talk is about the seemingly invincible ticket that might be created with Hillary for President and Obama for Vice President. Both of them feel the sacred duty of demanding "a democratic government in Cuba". They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon.
I don't pretend to understand the metaphor of the final sentence, but I certainly understand the first one. Fidel says that "talk is about the seemingly invincible ticket." But now here's CNN's (mis)interpretation:
Add another name to the list of political observers who think a Clinton-Obama ticket would be unbeatable: Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In an editorial in Cuba's communist party newspaper, Granma, the ailing dictator said the pairing of the two White House hopefuls seemed "invincible."
Balderdash. He said no such thing. He said "talk" (i.e., conventional wisdom) is that the ticket is "seemingly invincible." He didn't say the ticket was invincible. Reuters makes the same mistake, asserting that Fidel "is tipping Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to team up and win the U.S. presidential election." Nonsense.

Is it really that hard to read the English language?

Update: I didn't think it possible, but it just got worse. Wolf Blitzer, pitching his upcoming show, says we'll hear "who Fidel Castro will be casting his vote for" and who he "prefers for President." Of course we'll hear no such thing.

Second update: Just to show it can be done, AP gets it exactly right, with a headline, "Castro essay criticizes U.S. presidential hopefuls" and a lead that starts, "A new essay signed by ailing leader Fidel Castro accused U.S. presidential candidates of 'submission' to his exiled foes in Florida and offered a favorable assessment of only one of the 10 presidents he has known: Jimmy Carter." No absurd talk of Fidel "tipping" certain candidates or claiming they're "invincible."


Why stop here? There's more...

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