Score: Bush message machine, 1; New York Times, 0

No doubt this was just an accidental slip by a photo caption editor on autopilot, but still it’s disheartening to see the New York Times broadcast Administration talking points so unthinkingly.

This photograph on page A9 of yesterday’s New York Times shows a lone demonstrator (apparently one who supports the Administration’s policies) standing across from a group of anti-war demonstrators on the opposite street corner:

Photo and caption from top left of page A9, Monday, 28 May 2007 New York Times

The caption reads:

“Jeff Broderick, foreground, standing alone last week in support of United States troops as demonstrators for peace occupy an opposite corner.”

So if he supports the troops, I guess that must mean the people on the other side of the street uh… don’t support the troops? Right.

Please. NYT, you can do better :-).

To be fair, one could also say — by a bit more of a stretch — that the second half of the caption buys into the anti-Iraq-war message machine, when it claims that the demonstrators on the opposite corner are “for peace”. After all, a supporter of the invasion might argue that the invasion and occupation are the route to peace, and that opposing the war now will not lead to peace. I don’t agree with that reasoning, but in any case the caption needn’t have gotten into the debate at all. It could have said:

“Jeff Broderick, foreground, standing alone last week in support of administration policy in Iraq, as demonstrators against occupy the opposite corner.”

That would have been both more precise and less controversial.

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