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29567: Fuller (reply) Re: 29551: Leiderman: comment: "P-au-P Bank Guard Erupts in Gunfire..." (fwd)

From Rob Fuller

I don't like this sort of context-less, chliched journalism any more than
you do, but I think that some of your points are unfair. I'm sure the AP
have to be extremely careful about exactly how they describe events
(particularly events which are unclear or disputed at the scene) and about
how their words may be interpreted.

The headline "Shots Fired..." is totally in the passive case, similar to
when people talk about the weather or the invisible hand of laissez-faire
economics.  But the writer(s) distinctly reported that witnesses identified
the shooter.

Exactly: the article reported that "Witnesses said a security guard at a
nearby bank fired the shots...". That is a statement of fact. Presumably the
correspondent was not confident enough that the witnesses' account was
correct to repeat it as fact. The headline "Shots fired..." is indisputably

Then, there's "Gunfire rang out..." and "gunfire erupted..."

Standard journalistic cliche, unfortunately. To me it doesn't necessarily
imply more than one weapon.

Hmm, what do U.N. civilian police officers look like?

They were presumably civilian (normal, "regular") police rather than
military police. Civilian police in every country wear a uniform.

Lastly, there's the writer(s) parting shot that selectively characterize the
University of Haiti as "state-run" when all kinds of other modifiers could
have been chosen.

Again, the implication that this suggested government support of the
demonstration had not occurred to me. I don't know why the correspondent
used this description - perhaps it is to add some interest or "flavour" for
American readers. As someone who comes from a country where all universities
are state-run, it seemed to me just irrelevant. Don't students everywhere
normally protest against their own governments, rather than at their
governments' bidding?