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.
â€œWe will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods,â€ 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.