HOW TO QUOTE IN CONTEXT….AND

HOW TO QUOTE IN CONTEXT….AND HOW NOT TO….Via Ken Layne, I read this AP story about a reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat who got in trouble for some intemperate language:

Political writer and columnist Bill Cotterell, in an e-mail exchange, wrote “Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They’ve had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to.”

….The complaint started an exchange with Cotterell, who also wrote, “I don’t give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage while defending itself. So be it.” Cotterell was suspended a week without pay. Democrat Executive Editor John Winn Miller apologized for the remarks.

This had me scratching my head: the Council on American-Islamic Relations is complaining about that? Don’t they have better things to do?

Then today I was wandering around on WorldNet Daily (!) and found this:

Cotterell was suspended for one week without pay, beginning today, for writing to a Muslim: “Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They’ve had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to. OK, they can squat around the camel-dung fire and grumble about it, or they can put their bottoms in the air five times a day and pray for deliverance; that’s their business. ? And I don’t give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage while defending itself. So be it.”

Ah, now that puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it? A week’s suspension suddenly sounds fairly reasonable.

Question: why did AP write such a lame story? It’s one thing to bowdlerize copy for family consumption, it’s quite another to make it sound like someone is being suspended in an act of ultra-PC idiocy because you don’t print the actual quote that got them in trouble.

I guess journalism schools aren’t teaching enough liberal to our budding young liberal media wannabes these days. It’s a crying shame, I tell you….

POSTSCRIPT: Turns out the Tallahassee Democrat was already in trouble because of a cartoon titled “What Would Mohammed Drive?” that accidentally showed up on their website but was then withdrawn. Cartoonist Doug Marlette, responding to complaints, said the character in the cartoon was not Mohammed, just a generic Arab:

Noting that cartoon images should not be taken literally, he pointed out that “there were no Ryder trucks in Muhammad’s time.”

Glad we cleared that up.

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