13 February 2006

Comparing Currents

Recently the LATimes changed the name of the Sunday OpEd to Currents. They've also started printing many more editorials from unusual sources. The name change, whatever, the widening of voices, excellent, and good for them, good for Southern California.

Now that I've managed to compliment them, one thing that I noticed this Sunday was that they had this piece by a returning Guardsman who describes the trials his unit faced, but also the triumphs and determination in the face of those difficulties.

Compare that to the opinion of a journalist who has a far sadder tale to tell of PTSD undertreated that leads to tragedy.

Both stories are factually true (probably), and both are spinning things in a particular direction. Both offer little more than personal anecdotes, but suggest that their anecdotes are what you need to know to understand the full picture.

I'm not questioning that aspect of these editorials, however what I found jarring when reading the dead tree edition of the Sunday LA Times was this little disclaimer that they felt compelled to include on one of the Eds but not the other. The info boxes that appear online are identical to the info boxes in print with one exception after 1st Lt. Parry's email they include the sentence, "The opinions expressed here are his own."

Possibly they forgot to include that caveat online and meant to. Presumably that warning is meant to protect the public relations firm 1st Lt. Parry references with his email address. If so, no big deal, but then the warning should appear both online and print in the LATimes.

When I first saw that warning it said to me, 'We at the LATimes want to assure you that we are including a pro-Iraq War voice in our pages only because of the recent dust-up over that stupid Joel Stein column and believe us when we tell you that this poor deluded infantrymen's perspective is not shared by anybody at this paper, and don't forget to read the piece by a 'real' journalist below that will give you the proper perspective on the so called 'war on terror'.'

It doesn't say that, I'm being unfair, and yet, that warning about opinions belonging solely to the author doesn't show up on any other OpEd that week, and I don't recall seeing a warning like that before. Curious and Curiouser.

(also in a similar vein, Nate Boaz has a succinct take on the nature of 'dissent' and the current conflict. (evidently his opinion doesn't require any warning))

All these pieces deserve your attention at any rate. Read, mull, discuss if you like, or not, that's fine too.

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