Saturday, December 29, 2007

Conflicting Reports

News Limited headline and pointer:

Bhutto died 'bumping her head'

AN aide to slain Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has called the government's claim she died bumping her head on her car's sun roof a "pack of lies."
Description in the Agence France Presse story subbed and published by News Limited:

Interior ministry spokesman Javed Cheema said earlier that the post-mortem on the populist opposition leader found her mortal wound came when she tried to duck after the bomber attacked. He said the bomber fired at her but missed, and that her critical injury came when she hit the lever of the sunroof of the car she was in, as she waved to supporters after a campaign rally on Thursday. "The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull,'' Cheema said.

UK Telegraph headline and description:

Row breaks out over Benazir Bhutto's death

...the country's Interior Ministry claimed she had died from hitting her vehicle's sunroof when she tried to duck after a suicide attack... Brigadier Javed Cheema, a ministry spokesman, said Miss Bhutto had died from a head wound she sustained when she smashed against the sunroof's lever as she tried to shelter inside the car. "The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull," Mr Cheema said.
Despite the News Limited headline's use of single quotes, an actual quotation saying Bhutto 'bumped' her head is not to be found. Just supposing for a second that Brigadier Cheema is correct, the Telegraph's use of 'smashed against' is the appropriate description of the force needed to inflict a fatal wound.

The question is what News Limited and AFP hopes to achieve by ridiculing Cheeva's statement with their choice of words and use of misleading quotation marks, even if later evidence proves this, as other conflicting descriptions of the event, incorrect?

-- Nick

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