I am not a political analyst. I am an airhead. My head for facts is like a sponge. I absorb them quickly, and they get squeezed out just as quickly, leaving me with the dirty dishwater. Nonetheless, I have recently developed a mad passion for news feeds. So let me tell you, before I forget, something that happened to me in my efforts to become a crackerjack news feeder.
I saw a feed featured on July 3 of an article from the Jerusalem Post entitled: “Iran will halt enrichment if west removes sanctions,” This was big news Several people had commented on it. This is somewhat unusual for a news feed. I scanned the article and I searched the web and I came back and posted this comment: I cannot find this ANYWHERE else, yes I think it might be too good to be true. I felt like a VERY responsible news feeder.
The feed remained at the top of the featured feeds for a day. And this is also somewhat unusual. But it by no means suggests that uranium.com endorsed this feed in any way. All it suggests is that Jahanshah may have gone swimming, which I am told is the only place he does not take his laptop. Regardless. There the feed stood for all the world to see. And so I decided to read the article very carefully. First I read the title: “US fears Israel preparing Iran strike”.by: HERB KEINON, JPOST.COM STAFF AND AP
I checked and re-checked many times and concluded, yes, the feeder had given the article a different title on the homepage. I counted three authors cited by the Jerusalem Post: a person, a newspaper, and a global press service. I found it difficult to not imagine exactly how these three parties could sit down and write an article together, but I braced myself for one hell of an article. I read:
This week's warnings from US President George W. Bush and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of America's Joint Chiefs of Staff, against an IDF strike on Iran are a sign that Washington is concerned that Jerusalem may indeed attack the Islamic Republic, Israeli government officials said Thursday.
Good, good, I thought. I know all about this and it is only Friday. I am becoming a crackerjack news feeder. I saw a photo of Ahmadinejad chosen so he’d look like a monkey. Nothing unusual there, I thought. I continued reading:
Also on Thursday, Channel 2 analyst Ehud Ya'ari reported that Iran had expressed readiness to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of the international sanctions imposed on it.
Hmmm. I thought. that means no one at the Jerusalem Post actually spoke to anyone. It just means someone at JP, possibly Herb Kleinon, watches TV. I watch TV too, I thought. I still couldn’t figure out where the AP fit in all this. I continued reading:
Citing unnamed Western officials, he said the Iranians had conveyed messages indicating they could accept the latest incentive package offered by the West in return for halting its enrichment program. I noted:
-- The sources are unnamed. This means we don’t know their names..
-- The sources are Western. This means they live somewhere west of the Urals, probably close to the Atlantic. But we don’t really know. They could live anywhere, from US to UK to Slovenia to Andorra. I hope not Andorra. Too small to really matter. I concluded: the sources are not only unnamed, but unplaced.
--The sources are “officials”. This is plural. This means there are more than one of them. But two or two hundred, we don’t really know.
--We conjecture from context that these officials are officals in governmental agencies. But we don’t really know which agencies. I would rather have just ONE official at the US State Department than two hundred at the Andorran Sanitation Department. But that is a personal preference.
I also figured out that could does not mean would. I read further:
Meanwhile, a State Department spokesman said the US was sticking to its demand that Iran halt uranium enrichment as a precondition for US participation in negotiations with the Islamic republic over its nuclear program. He added, however, that the US would not rule out early consultations with Iran before official talks begin on resolving its standoff with the West.
Hmmm, I thought, this source is singular, masculine, and though unnamed, not unplaced. He works for the US State Department. I know what “meanwhile” means, I thought. It means something ELSE happening at the same time. That rules out the State Department for the first officials. Must’ve been the Andorrans. I was disappointed. I read:
and a list of news links. I thought, well, that was s a short article. I will check out some of these links, because I want to be a crackerjack news feeder. Fortunately, just before I clicked on them I happened to notice below them:
The spokesman went on to say that Washington would not dismiss the option of Iran stopping enrichment for a limited time in exchange for the removal of sanctions. However, he stressed that Teheran must first give a detailed response to the EU incentive package, Israel Radio reported.
I thought, jeez, what lousy editing they do at that Jerusalem Post Online, Should I write and tell them? And how did we get to radio? I thought we were still watching TV. I read next:
The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the report.
I was not surprised. I continued reading:
Mullen said late Wednesday that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a high-risk move that could destabilize the Middle East. At a Defense Department news conference…Asked whether he was concerned Israel would strike before the end of the year, Mullen said: "This is a very unstable part of the world and I don't need it to be more unstable."
Oh my god, this is fantastic, I thought! ! I already know all this. God, I’m getting good. I read further...several paragraphs beginning with: Israeli officials said that” and an entire analysis of Mullen’s visit to Israel. . Splendid, I thought. So what if these officials are unnamed, they are placed!. They are Israelis. And we know for a fact that Mullen went to Israel. I believe these officials are on to something. Unlike those Andorran ones, I don’t believe they EVER spoke to anyone from Tehran about uranium. I think they made it all up. I continued:
In a news conference earlier in the day, President Bush was also asked about increasing speculation that Israel will launch a strike, and said that all options are on the table but that military action would not be his first choice.
Excellent, I thought. I know exactly who he is and what agency he works for. I read more about what Bush said. Then I read:
"All this is designed to throw cold water on any possible Israeli intentions," the officials said.
I began to become suspicious of these Israeli officials. This was a very specific statement. How could anywhere from two to two hundred people say the exact same thing at the exact same time, like a Greek chorus, unless it was rehearsed? Sounded fishy to me. I read further:
"They are worried by the atmosphere in Israel, and that reports of an inevitable attack have suddenly started to dominate the debate."
There it goes again, that Greek chorus. Fishier and fishier. The article ended. I checked to make sure. Yes. Indeed. It was done.
I wrote this blog. I didn’t post it. It needed editng. I went out. I came back. I saw a new feed: Iran responds to nuclear offer (BBC).
I know them, BBC. I thought. They're pretty cool. But still doesn’t say what the response was. Should I post my blog? Better wait. Because if Iran does say they're going to halt enrichment, I'm going to look like a total asshole. Checked the web. It was EVERYWHERE:
Iran responds! Iran responds! Ding dong, the witch is dead. Jesus saves. God save the Queen. Thank god almighty, we’re free at last.
Still doesn’t say what the response was, I thought. Sure sounds like they’re halting enrichment. Good thing I didn’t post that blog. I went to bed. I slept fretfully. The next morning I saw the following feed. Iran defiant on right to nuclear power. Checked the web:
Enrichment continues. Satan lives. Armageddon. Today will live on in history as a day of infamy.
I am smarter than Herb Kleinon, I thought. I knew it all along.
I'm gonna be a one helluva crackerjack news feeder.
* * *
There is a saying in English: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I agree. I live in a glass house. I have done the same things Kleinon and the first feeder did in different ways constantly in my three week career as a news feeder. I spin things the way I want to, I'll do anything to get a laugh out of a supertitle. I don't do enough research. I'm sloppy. I'm careless. Kleinon, you will argue, is a profesional journalist and I am not. I will argue that the moment we choose to contribute news in a public forum. we accept the same responsibilities as professional journalists.
There is another saying in English: A rolling stone gathers no moss. That is the nature of cyberspace. We roll and roll down endless hills of images and information. We rarely stop long enough to gather moss.
Yet that is just what we need most. More moss.
Less rolling. More moss.
Keep the faith,
Rosie the Roller
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