Thursday, December 20, 2007

't Zandt pyromaniac / We didn't start the fire

(philippe bunge)

I'm usually not a big one for media criticism, because _ well, because of the famous relationship between glass houses & stones.

But today I wanted to make an exception. Here are three headlines from the Dutch news about the arrest of a suspect in 18 arsons in a podunk town up north called "'t Zandt." Nobody has been hurt, by the way, but the hunt for the culprit has been a top ten story in Dutch press for a month now.

Dutchies: Spot the hidden assumption....

105 Teletekst wo 19 dec
Pyromaan van 't Zandt aangehouden

=Pyromaniac from 't Zandt arrested

RTL Nieuws
't Zandt opgelucht na arrestatie pyromaan
='t Zandt relieved after arrest of pyromaniac

And just in case you thought I was a completely uncritical fan of GeenStijl, I have to say I object to their approach:

Is dit de pyromaan uit het 't Zandt?
=Is this the pyromaniac from 't Zandt?

Now, while I am all for naming suspects when they can be identified (and not just using their initials as per Dutch media rules) I am firmly opposed to convicting suspects in the headline!
Maybe this guy will turn out to be guilty _ but it's a little early, folks.

The GeenStijl tack is especially weak because they're trying to dodge responsibility for calling him a 'pyromaniac' by merely phrasing it as a question _ and then then they link to a broadcast in which the suspect is shown, with his full name printed.

I mean, either I.D. him or don't. This is not the bold GeenStijl we know and love.

(ben morson)

For balance, an English language story that I saw on Google's most popular that made my toenails flip backwards.

(CNN) -- Parents are struggling with what to tell their children after finding out that Britney Spears' younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, is pregnant.

Attn: CNN: on behalf of at least some parents, and I'm pretty sure most parents, I'd like to say:

"Wij ons niet herkennen in dit verhal"

That means, this doesn't really apply, since neither me or my kids knew of the existence of someone called Jamie Lynn Spears, nor her pregnancy, until seeing this story.
Now that I know, I'm not really struggling with how to tell my children. I'm perfectly content not to tell them. I suppose that on the off chance they asked me about it, I'd say: Jamie Lynn Spears had sex, and didn't use birth control, or didn't use it correctly.

Any other questions, kids?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oops, they did it again! Oh well, It could have been worse. Like, Amy Winehouse' younger sister got pregnant worse. I guess.