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August 08, 2006

Israel Hates Adorable Kitty-Cats

On the tank stuck in the minefield...

Sue Donhim, being snarky:

The tank may be stuck, but it's still killing 3 Lebanese per minute according to Al-Reuters. ...our investigative journalist in the field is reporting that 2 of those 3 Lebanese being killed per minute are little babies. Little babies with kittens.

Then Sue later, quoting the New York Times/IHT, being serious:

Daibis insisted on locking the door to his house. His sister, who was found earlier, had described to rescuers in a pleading tone where he was. He was carried more than 800 meters, or a half- mile, over the jumble of industrial trash to the center of town, where a few ambulances were driving survivors out. A kitten mewed from a bombed-out building.

The way they... surround a story.

With adorable kittens.

Meowing antiemitic epithets at the Zionist Aggressors who have occupied their litter boxes.

Look, war is bad. There's no getting around that. And the suffering of the Lebanese is a legitimate story.

But... give me a break. Mewling kittens? Can they maybe lighten up with the stuffed lions, soot-covered Big Wheels, and collateral-damage kittens?

In fiction, they call that sort of thing the "telling detail," the one small detail that suggests others, and evokes an emotional response or a mood. That's fine in fiction -- which is a medium designed to manipulate emotion. If it's not manipulating emotion, the fiction isn't doing it's job.

And it has its place in reportage as well -- to a degree. But reportage, unlike fiction, is not supposed to be chiefly concerned with creating an emotional response in a reader through well-chosen details, is it? Isn't it supposed to focus on the, you know, facts? The truly important who/what/when/where/why facts, not the trivial detalis like a mewling kitten that invoke a disproportionate response in the reader's emotions?

(Like I did that? Yeah, me too.)

This must be the "storytelling" school of "news" promoted by CNN head Jonathan Klein. Storytelling, not reporting. Adapting the techniques and artifices of fiction to manipulate readers in news reports.


I think too much can be made of this, but it's newsworthy. Even if it is probably just a mistake.

Maybe the caption to he photo is just incorrectly phrased. But what the caption says, and what the photo seems to depict, is rescuers digging two bodies out from the wreckage of a bombed building.

And those bodies, it says, were already wrapped in blankets.

Before the airstrike, apparently.

I don't know what this means; I'd just first assume the caption is wrong as far as the timing of the wrapping of the bodies.

Still. As the story is actually reported-- we have people digging bodies out of a wrecked building who were already dead and wrapped tightly in blankets before the IDF got there.

Confederate Yankee wonders if the Israelis hit a "body warehouse" of some kind, used by Hezbollah to sprinkle bodies around when needed. I doubt the IDF could possibly get so lucky.

Besides, what need does Hezbollah have of planting bodies when they've already got them there kittens?

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posted by Ace at 03:49 PM

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