When the Washington Post tries to condemn other newspapers as tabloid journalists, there’s always today’s paper for rebuttal. Reporter Anthony Shadid’s front-page story on the deaths of women and children at Qana carried this emotionally manipulative headline, quoting Khalil Burji, a man watching recovery efforts, after the jump on page A8, all across the page:
‘The Child Who Choked to Death, What Was His Sin?’
Blame the headline writer then, and not Shadid? But John Leo's latest posting on July 27says Shadid is "the world's foremost practitioner of 'They Killed My Baby!' journalism":
His technique is to appear at a war scene after a bombing and conduct an emotionally loaded interview with someone who has just lost a child or a spouse. The despair of the grieving civilian comes to represent the amazing brutality of war, almost always the brutality of Israel or the United States. The Post headline writers cooperate by placing an over-the-top headline on his piece, which therefore takes on the trappings of propaganda..
Good examples of Shadidism are "He Kept Bleeding" and "Father, Son Died, Family Wonders Why" (2002 accounts of Palestinian casualties), "The Whole World Cries" (2003, an errant U.S. missile lands in Baghdad, thus becoming a symbol of American heedlessness) and "God Stop the Bombs" (this morning's story of suffering civilians in Lebanon).
Leo concludes by shaking his head at Shadid's recent comparison of Israelis to Nazis:
Shadid calls the hospital a "Guernica-like tableau of suffering, desperation and anguish." Guernica-like? That means the Israelis are Nazis. Aren't big-time editors supposed to delete wretched excesses like this? Or is the Shadid virus spreading at the Post? "They've Infected My Journalism!," anguished staffers aver as "The Whole Newsroom Cries!"