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March 15, 2005
Al-Reuters Strikes Again

Sometimes reading Reuters amounts to an extensive lesson in accidental satire. Take as an example their coverage of the Syrian mukhabarat's retreat from Beirut. Here's how Reuters describes the pullout (emphases mine):

Syrian intelligence agents began evacuating their headquarters in Beirut Tuesday, partially meeting a key U.S. and Lebanese opposition demand for an end to three decades of Syria's tutelage over its neighbor.

Syria's tutelage? Reuters wants us to believe that the Syrians have spent the better part of three decades having its army and spies controlling every aspect of Lebanon's administration in order to act as a mentor. What exactly was Lebanon to learn? I can imagine this only as a bad episode of Kung Fu, as if there were any other kind:

Kwai-Chiang Lebanon: When will I be ready to go out into the world on my own, Master?

Master Po-Assad: When you can snatch your stones from my iron-clad grasp, Grasshopper.

Nadim Ladki's writing doesn't improve much as it goes along, either. Ladki appears unable to report the truth of Syria's relationship as an occupier and dictator of Lebanon, one of the reasons that a million Lebanese showed up in the streets of Beirut yesterday to demand their exit. Ladki instead uses more weasel words:

Syria's often feared intelligence presence has been a key element in its political and military influence on Lebanon since its troops first intervened early in the 1975-90 civil war.

How "often" were they feared -- daily, weekly, hourly? Every other Tuesday from noon to 4 pm? And as far as Syria's "influence" on Lebanese politics and life is concerned, calling the occupation of a country with a couple of divisions of heavily-armed soldiers "influential" amounts to a vast if not obscene understatement.

I thought the Exempt Media had editors and internal checks to catch this kind of bad writing. Good thing Reuters isn't a blog.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 15, 2005 12:33 PM

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