January 30, 2005

Mainstream coverage of the Iraqi election.

I'm struck by the comparison between CNN and the New York Times right now. CNN just has the bland: "Iraqis vote amid violence." The NYT has a series of headlines:
Iraqi Voters Turn Out in High Numbers Despite Rebel Attacks Killing Up to 36

Amid Attacks, a Party Atmosphere on Baghdad's Closed Streets

Rice Says Vote Exceeding Expectations

The Vote, and Democracy Itself, Leave Anxious Iraqis Divided

Yes, it's a subtle mix of positive and negative -- for every good, there must be an ominous undertone. But the NYT at least gives a sense of the importance of what is happening and doesn't allow the bad to overshadow the good. I note that while those headlines show that the voting is more than expected, they don't say the violence is less than expected. The last headline, "The Vote, and Democracy Itself, Leave Anxious Iraqis Divided," is from a John F. Burns piece that is old enough to have made the paper edition, where the headline is "One Vote, But Many Reactions: Resolve, Discouragement, Joy." The headline change is a bit annoying, because it makes it seem as if the Iraqis are reacting to what happed today, when the article was looking forward to an event that had not yet occurred.

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