Reuters Misleads About Bush Saying ‘Mandela’s Dead’

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on September 26, 2007

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Example of Media Bias:

Apparently Reuters doesn’t understand the concept of “context” because they’re…claiming that in his [Sept. 20] press conference [President] Bush said that Nelson Mandela is dead. Calling what Bush said “an embarrassing gaffe,” Reuters took Bush’s words out of context to make it seem as if Bush was talking about something he was not talking about. But any intelligent person can easily understand Bush’s context merely by listening to his whole sentence instead of shortening it to just two words.

With a headline that reads, Mandela Still Alive After Embarrassing Bush Remark, Reuters does its best to make a Bush “gaffe” where none exists.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Nelson Mandela is still very much alive despite an embarrassing gaffe by U.S. President George W. Bush, who alluded to the former South African leader’s death in an attempt to explain sectarian violence in Iraq.

here’s the problem. During the press conference, Bush was not talking about the actual Nelson Mandela. He was talking about people like Nelson Mandela and speaking metaphorically. And listening to Bush’s entire segment, while not artfully stated, makes it clear that he was not talking about the actual Nelson Mandela.

Here is Bush’s entire segment transcribed: (My bold emphasis)

“I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, ‘now where’s Mandela?’ Well, Mandela’s dead. Because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandela’s.

He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families and people are recovering from this. So there’s a psychological recovery that is taking place and it’s hard work for them and I understand that it’s hard work for them.”

Could it be any more obvious that Bush is saying that there aren’t any Iraqis filling the same sort of role in Iraq that Nelson Mandela filled in South Africa? Could it be any more clear that Bush was saying that Saddam “killed all the Mandelas” of Iraq?

But even with that, Reuters seems to understand that their headline is a lie because they include this paragraph in their story:

In a speech defending his administration’s Iraq policy, Bush said former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s brutality had made it impossible for a unifying leader to emerge and stop the sectarian violence that has engulfed the Middle Eastern nation.

OK, then if you KNOW what Bush meant, what he was actually talking about… then why this trumped up story? …

Go to NewsBusters.org for the original posting.

Questions

The Reuters website says of itself “Reuters is a global information company providing indispensable information tailored for professionals in the financial services, media and corporate markets. Our information is trusted and drives decision making across the globe. We have a reputation for speed, accuracy and freedom from bias.” 

Why do you think Reuters, which promotes itself as having a reputation for “accuracy and freedom from bias,” used a headline that mislead readers into thinking that President Bush is an unintelligent bumbler? Explain your answer.


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Answer(s)

Opinion question.  Answers vary.