31 January 2007

On the policy of understatement

My friends (especially some of them that are more into newspaper business than I am) always try to calm me down when I go on a rave about the titles some articles carry. It is not the authors, they tell me, it is the editors who perpetrate these small crimes (mainly crimes of stupidity, which is not considered a crime in most places and cases anyhow). Still, I do like some moderate raving from time to time - gets your old red cells moving.

The title that got me raving this time is Hamas fails to condemn Eilat bomb that killed three from Inependent. I don't know whether this title is invented by a bored/stupid editor or by the author (Donald Macintyre), but it could not be farther from reality.

Macintyre himself does confuse the issue even more:

Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Authority, notably refrained from condemning the bombing, with one of its Gaza spokesmen, Fawzi Barhoum, calling it a "natural response" to Israeli military policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as its boycott of the authority. " So long as there is occupation, resistance is legitimate," he said.
So, the article offers a spectrum of options, from "fails to condemn" via "refrained from condemning" to "calling it a natural response".

I am an admirer of the British knack of understatement. Its pinnacles like this one from Wiki rarely fail to fill me with joy:
Event: British Admiral David Beatty had just watched two of his battle-cruisers explode and disintegrate under German fire at the Battle of Jutland, May 31, 1916. Comment: "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today..."
But in the case of this Indy's article I seriously doubt whether pegging an outright support of the homicidal act as a failure to condemn it is an understatement.

Or just too much eagerness to embellish the stark and ugly reality of Hamas and what it stands for.

Bloody Indy - and this is an understatement of the century.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com