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June 23, 2004
Washington Post's Crystal Ball A Little Cloudy

Thanks to alert reader Paul Escalona from Trenton, NJ, the Washington Post has been caught in another instance of allowing its editorial bias creep into its news reporting. In today's story about the brutal beheading of a South Korean interpreter by al-Qaeda terrorists, the Post makes this odd statement:

But Kim's death appeared almost certain to broaden opposition in South Korea to the country's already unpopular involvement in Iraq. Public opinion polls show that more than 56 percent of the population opposes the troop deployment. More than a thousand South Koreans took to the streets for a second day on Tuesday, demanding a withdrawal from Iraq, while hundreds more took part in candlelight vigils for Kim.

That passage precedes quotes from two South Koreans, who apparently agree with Jackie Spinner and Anthony Faiola's assertion that the killing should spark renewed calls for appeasement. However, the Post does not give any explanation about how such a groundswell of opposition might arise, other than the conjecture of the reporters. As Amy Ridenour notes at the excellent National Center blog:

A well-edited, objective paper would have run the beheading murder and the Abu Ghraib update as separate stories. The story about Kim Sun Il's beheading belonged on page one. The minor update on judicial proceedings against U.S. soldiers charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal belonged deep inside the paper, assuming it belonged in the paper at all.

The same article reported that "Kim's death appeared almost certain to broaden opposition in South Korea to the country's already unpopular involvement in Iraq," but the Post did not explain why it believes this is so. A good editor would have removed the assertion, or required support for it within the text.

And as Mr. Escalona notes, the Post's assertion appears to be flat-out incorrect anyway. The Asia Times reports that Abu al-Zarqawi's murdering thugs have enraged the South Koreans, and they want more engagement, not less:

The execution has galvanized the people, pushing many into the deployment camp. Preliminary surveys indicate a 20+% jump in the number of respondents who now support the government's plans [emph mine - CE].

Once again, we see the mainstream press pushing its editorial policies in the news section and making predictions, which belong in analyses and editorials and not in news stories.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 23, 2004 2:16 PM

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