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The news service Reuters appears almost apoplectic today as it tries to gin up a diplomatic meltdown between Italy and the US after the wounding of a freed hostage and the killing of an Italian commando yesterday by US forces at a checkpoint. As MS-NBC noted yesterday, the shooting commenced because the Italians refused to slow their car down as it approached a military checkpoint near the airport -- not exactly a bright idea in a country where terrorists attack checkpoints with carbombs on a regular basis.
Silvio Berlusconi called the American ambassador to his office to request a full investigation, which President Bush publicly announced would take place. For our stout Italian allies, nothing less would suffice; however, even from preliminary information, it appears that the shooting could have been avoided had the Italians exercised some common sense and better communication with the Americans.
However, Reuters issued two reports, which didn't even get out of the editing process before making the wires this morning, omitting all mention of the context but wildly exaggerating the diplomatic rift. The first appeared at 7:23 CT and has not been updated since (via the milblog Phone Home). Here's how it starts:
The United States and its staunch Iraq war ally Italy face their worst falling out in years after U.S. troops killed an Italian secret service agent and wounded an Italian reporter.
The shooting in Iraq on Friday, as the reporter was being whisked to freedom after being held hostage for a month, was sure to fuel anti-war activists in Italy and put pressure on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi, who defied widespread public opposition to the Iraq war and sent 3,000 troops, took the rare step of summoning U.S. ambassador Mel Sembler to his office.
He demanded the United States "leave no stone unturned" in investigating the incident. President Bush was quick to call Berlusconi and promise a full investigation.
I don't know what the headline writer or the Philip Pulella, the reporter, was thinking, but it's hardly unusual under these circumstances for Berlusconi to call for an investigation. It certainly doesn't amount to a diplomatic crisis of the scale Pulella imagines. Just to top off the hysterical nature of the account, here's how the Reuters account concludes:
The agent had helped free Sgrena a month after she had been kidn
That's it; it stops in mid-sentence, which one could simply chalk up to a coding error. However, the second was even worse than the initial report:
The United States and its staunch Iraq (news - web sites) war ally Italy face their worst falling out in years after U.S. troops killed an Italian secret service agent and wounded an Italian reporter.
The shooting in Iraq on Friday, as the reporter was bein
That's all they wrote. It appeared on the wire at 8:30 am CT and as of 8:52 had not been updated or completed.
Obviously Reuters employs no editors or fact-checkers. Do they not even have copy desks any more to make sure they have complete sentences -- or even words? Remind me again how the mainstream media has a higher quality output with all of their checks and balances that we bloggers sadly lack.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on March 5, 2005 3:47 PM
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