A Tale of Two Ledes

From “Death brings despair and a defiant smile in a Gaza hospital,” by Taghreed El-Khodary, International Herald Tribune, January 8, 2008:

The emergency room at Shifa Hospital is never calm but on Thursday, the 13th day of Israel’s assault on Gaza, it was a scene of gore and despair and a lesson in the way ordinary people are squeezed between suicidal fighters and a vengeful military behemoth.

From “Fighter Sees His Paradise in Gaza’s Pain,” by Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times, January 8, 2008:

The emergency room in Shifa Hospital is often a place of gore and despair. On Thursday, it was also a lesson in the way ordinary people are squeezed between suicidal fighters and a military behemoth.

Though the stories have different titles, they are roughly identical (the Times owns the IHT). The use of the word “vengeful” to describe the Israeli “military behemoth” raises some interesting questions. Are such adjectives used to describe other countries that patiently withstand rocket attacks on their civilians for three years before responding effectively? Is Hamas “vengeful” for its stated desire to kill Jews and eliminate the state of Israel? It’s reassuring to see that there are responsible copy editors at the Times. Perhaps one of them should be dispatched to Paris.

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A Tale of Two Ledes

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