Tuesday, July 03, 2007

NYT gets one 66.6% correct -- maybe

AS several bloggers have pointed out over the past 48 hours, the New York Times described the individuals arrested after the latest spate of attempted bombings in the UK as from the "disenfranchised South Asian population."

Mark Steyn answers the first part of that description:

Tim Blair provides a fine example of why The New York Times is an unreliable guide to the ways of the world:

In July 2005, four suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transit system, and another set of attacks failed two weeks later, bringing home to Britain fears of homegrown terrorist attacks among its disenfranchised South Asian population. Witnesses said the two men in the Glasgow attack were South Asian.

My dictionary defines "disenfranchised" as:

to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially : to deprive of the right to vote

The "South Asian population" are British subjects with as much right to vote as Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. If the Times is merely using the word to mean more generally "deprived", the July 7th bombers didn't exactly hail from the ghetto: Shehzad Tanweer rode around in his dad's Mercedes. Omar Sheikh, who's supposed to have plotted the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, was an English "public" (ie, private) schoolboy and a London School of Economics alumnus. The four would-be suicide bombers who attempted a follow-up Tube carnage on July 21st 2005 were discovered to have "more than £500,000 in benefits payments" from the bountiful British welfare state in their bank accounts.

So the next editor of Webster's might like to include a new New York Times definition of "disenfranchised": "complacent liberal assumption designed to reassure readers that they can fit this story into all the old cliches about the usual root causes"

At the time of that publication, those arrested had been recent immigrants, with real property (they had money enough for nice cars), education (several of them were physicians or medical students), and were from Jordan and Iraq... not exactly "South Asian." So, wrong on two counts about these guys' backgrounds (and many of the 7/7/05 bombers were even voters, having been born or naturalized as British subjects).

Well, now we learn that at least one of this recent spate of deadly doctors came from India and another from Pakistan, and, without citizenship, they're temporarily disenfranchised until or unless they apply for and receive citizenship in UK. So that's 2/3 accurate. But wait! Is either qualified to vote back home in their respective countries? Maybe this brings them back down to just being "South Asian," a score of 33.3% accurate.

Still, not bad, for the NYT.

But the Times is not the only journal to miss a few facts: somehow, according to the WaPo, the only tie they all seem to have is that they're "foreign physicians." Funny how they all have names like Mohammed and Abdulla, and, yet, have no common ground except their having become doctors without boundaries.
(HT: CQ)

Update: Christopher Hitchens has an observation about a further subject not accurately dealt with, in MSM coverage of the London car bombs: the target was women.

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