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Sunday, September 05, 2004

More re WaPo's clever headline writers

While I'm on the subject of WaPo headlines, there's today's front-page article entitled "U.S. Troops in Iraq See Highest Injury Toll Yet," which has as its lede:

About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded in Iraq during August, by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began and an indication of the intensity of battles flaring in urban areas.

Good news?  Bad news?  Well, the headline certainly focuses on the bad part.  But a few paragraphs down we find:

The sharp rise in wounded was, for the first time, accompanied by a far less steep climb in battlefield fatalities. Since the start of the war in March 2003, 979 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and almost 7,000 have been wounded. Until last month, however, the monthly tallies of fatalities and wounded rose and fell roughly in proportion.

And the body of the article makes clear that the increase in non-fatal casualties is itself attributable to a renewal in the pace of anti-terrorist activities — in which we're not only taking some casualties, but we're killing, wounding, and capturing a whole lot more bad guys than we had recently.

So the headline could have read — and would have been more accurate had it read — "U.S. Troops in Iraq Cut Fatality Rate Despite Stepped Up Pace of Combat Against Terrorists."  But hey, who wants to read good news like that, anyway?

Posted by Beldar at 10:42 AM in Global War on Terror, Mainstream Media | Permalink

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Comments

(1) rdeat made the following comment | Sep 6, 2004 12:59:52 AM | Permalink

I've read so much today I can't remember the blog it was on, but... The ratio of fatalities to injury now is roughly 1:8 where it had been 1:5 and 1:4, truly good news.

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