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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thou shalt not speak ill of the dead

Today's NY Times had the following headline and first paragraph on their front page: 

Assassination In Afghanistan Creates a Void

Karzai's Half Brother Was Divisive Force

Kabul, Afghanistan -- Ahmed Wali Karzai, the powerful half brother of Afghanistan's President, was assassinated Tuesday, removing from the political scene a divisive power broker who was accused of corruption and alienated the American military, but whose connections and ruthlessness made him a critical force in volatile southern Afghanistan.

That is probably one of the least mournful obituaries ever. (They did everything but sing "Ding Dong the witch is dead!")

But, much as I hate the Times for their all-pervasive spin, I have to admit that they do (usually) put the most important articles on the front page. Wali's death could potentially have a significant impact on the balance of power in Afghanistan.

I was a little surprised that I had not seen news of this yesterday, even though I spend most of my day on the internet. Contrast that to the first four headlines Yahoo News listed listed (presumably, in order of importance) this morning:

-Big birth announcement: couple welcomes a 16-pound baby boy.

-The Beckhams' new baby

-Jaycee Dugard breaks silence

-Social media reacts to royals in California

I am as likely as anyone to turn to a human interest story rather than another dry article about the debt limit negotiations. But the most rewarding articles are those like the one quoted from above, where it's actually important news, but it's reported in such a way as to be entertaining. 

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