Category Archive 'Misleading Headlines'

09 Jul 2008

Grow Up Already

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The London Times cannot resist the temptation of using the scary headline: Russia threatens military response to US missile defence deal.

And Matt Drudge links their story and adds an alarming photo of a missile launch.

(Oh no, Russia is already sending nukes our way!)

Was Russia really threatening to launch ballistic missiles or order some of its Combined-Arms Armies westward in the direction of the Fulda Gap?

No. Not really.

What the actual story said was:

Moscow argues that the missile shield would severely undermine the balance of European security and regards the proposed missile shield based in two former Communist countries as a hostile move.

“We will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Obviously, Russia was merely alluding darkly to its own capabilities of using technical methods to gain an ability to defeat defensive missiles. Russia is threatening a particular kind of arms race not a nuclear first strike or an invasion of Western Europe.

National Enquirer-style misleading headlines may win Drudge and the London Times a few more readers today, but they certainly do not increase readers’ respect for those particular sources. I’d say that they are only trading future readers for some extra ones today.


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