MADitorial: Banking On Bad Headline Writing Skills & Helping Thieves

English is my third language, but even now I recall teachers at St. Paul’s High School in Karachi, Pakistan, teaching us to be careful in stringing words together. One of my favorite songs, Stairway To Heaven says something about how “sometimes words have two meanings”. But, sentence structure can have even more impact.

But, all too often, we see news stories, especially headlines, that can mean the opposite of what the writer intended. And, most often, they are not deliberate puns. I am sure I am guilty of such errors too.

Today’s daily email from the Palm Beach Post in my Inbox is amusing.

It states:


Armored-car worker shot at bank near West Palm

Attempted robbery happened this morning Wachovia Bank on Okeechobee Boulevard.

View map of bank | More crime news


First of all, the way it is written, the text suggests that the armored car worker, an armed guard usually, is the one who shot at the bank building or something related to the bank.

Secondly, the sub-heading does not continue logically from the headline itself. For example, it could have conveyed the same information, but tied to the headline by saying something like this, “Shot by bandits during morning robbery at Okeechobee Wachovia Bank” – even using terse verbiage for space-saving reasons.

But, what I find amusing about this reporting is how conveniently the “More crime news” link is placed right next to “View map of the bank”… the better to help the next set of bank robbers plan their getaway perhaps!

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Murder’s OK, But Make Love & You’re Dead!

Let me get this straight.

The US military, with two recent draft-dodging Presidents as Commanders-in-Chief, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has punished and dishonored a General who actually proudly served this nation in Vietnam and elsewhere. Because he committed….. adultery?

And, even that he did with someone who is neither his subordinate, nor his intern and not even a vendor offering him a job on retirement.

Yet, today a military court (where else but in Texas) let Pfc. Willie Brand go with a slap on the wrist, though he basically murdered two Afghan prisoners.

Way to go. Murdering unarmed prisoners under your control is fine, but God help you if you make love to an adult consenting woman. What would Jesus think.

You never know how much a top General can learn from a soldier. Perhaps the decorated General should have learnt from the murderous Pfc. Willie Brand.

The General would have been better off having sex with a non-consenting woman, that he should have held prisoner; torturing, maiming, raping and finally murdering her. The punishment would have been less severe than what he got now!

That’s just, In My Humble Opinion.

Posted August 19, 2005

Can (they) handle the truth? Re: “logical plan” supposedly from Robin Williams

God Bless America for being a free country that allows anyone to spout any kind of “logic”…. even such selectively bigoted stuff as the purported “Robin Williams proposal” I see recirculated every few months.

I am told Robin Williams is NOT the source of this list, but someone is obviously trying to make SOME point, and my response applies to the person(s) who wrote it and those who so gladly forward it to their mailing lists. Can they handle the truth?

The writer is correct on many counts, but we should not be selective in applying this “logic”. Here is how it actually looks when you read the reality. So, shall we apply this “perfect plan” or are we having second thoughts?

Imran
http://imran.TV

====
> You gotta love Robin Williams…… Even if he’s nuts! Leave it to Robin Williams to come up with the perfect plan What we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message.
>
> Robin Williams’ plan….(Hard to argue with this logic!)
>
> I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here’s one plan.”
>
> 1..) “The US will apologize to the world for our “interference” in their affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those ‘good ole boys,’ We will never “interfere” again.

Hitler was allowed to run amok with the US looking the other way. American companies continued to do business with Nazi Germany. Jews were being killed off but the US did nothing (see NY Times {I think August 6, 2005} piece for a historical timeline of what the US did and when) until Japan attacked US.

Stalin was allowed to rape Eastern Europe, the US also sold out Poland to the Soviets. Noriega was a CIA paid killer friends with Bush Sr. Saddam Hussein was a US supported killer (I love those pics of Donald Dumbsfeld hugging Hussein while he was carrying out gas attacks on Iranians). I do not even have time to go into the list of Latin American dictators we kept in power to brutalize their populations.

> 2..) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea, the Middle East, and the Philippines. They don’t want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.

I fully agree. There are too many Hispanic vote seeking politicians who are selling out the US. Heck, I am all for the vigilante patrols on the Mexican border. If a Mexican drug dealer and gang member can crawl in, how difficult will it be for AlQaeda to hop on over too? Shoot anyone coming over illegally.

> 3..) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We’ll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. They’re illegal!!! France will welcome them.

90 days? Why? 30 oughta do it. And, if politicians and “activists” cry out to support illegals, have each one house at least 6 of them in their own homes and pay their bills (and TAXES).

> 4..) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit!!!!!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in.

I assume that includes terrorist nations like Israel (with an indicted war criminal Premier) that occupy civilian populations, use OUR tax-payer financed “defense” F-16s to drop 1000 lb. bombs in civilian neighborhoods killing 27 innocent people, while missing the ONE suspected terrorist they wanted to get. Oh, sorry, saying anything against Israel is so politically incorrect lest one be declared an anti-Semite for that. I am amazed that we Americans are made afraid to criticize Israel because we will be called anti-Semitic. That is baloney. I say, if someone us caught spying, as 3 American Jews were just charged, shoot them the same way as a Russian, Chinese or Saudi would and should be. Does saying that make me anti-Semitic? No, it makes me a loyal, patriotic American.

> If you don’t like it there, change it yourself and don’t hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don’t need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

Nor do we need any more people whose alliances are with the state of Israel or any other country instead of the United States. We should also ship off any people who are hyphenated Americans. Be an American, nor NOT an American. If you are “African-American” but do not speak an African language, were not born in African, do not have family in Africa, do not have property in Africa, heck, have not even visited Africa, then wake up, you are an American. If you do not like that, take the next ship to whatever country in Africa will take you. Now, for those pure racist readers smiling at my words, this applies to you. If you are Italian-American, Irish-American, Israeli-American, Indian-American, Pakistani-American or whatever hyphen you belong to, go ahead, take pride in your parents’ heritage, but be a proud American or take the next flight/ship to your country of hyphen.

At the same time, if immigrants from Nigeria, Korea, Pakistan, Phillipines, India, Poland and other places are willing to come here and work in nail salons, newspaper kiosks, 7-11s, cabs, nurses, caregivers, or other jobs that do not require a rocket science degree but are not done by hyphenated-Americans, then welcome the immigrants and stop giving welfare to such hyphenated-Americans. For example, If a Korean can apply nail polish on a woman’s hands, a person getting fat on welfare ought to be able to do the job.

> 5..) No foreign “students” over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don’t attend classes, they get a “D” and it’s back home baby.

Ironically, if it was not for foreign students, many engineering schools would actually shut down as local American kids focus on courses that will make them burger flippers. The luckier ones may become B-grade movie actors or comics. Mr. Williams should know.

> 6..) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

But, the Bush family, with decades of brotherhood with the evil corrupt Saudi regime, (I love the pics of Bush kissing the Saudi King ….. eeeewww and holding hands with him) stands to gain.

Did anyone notice the latest energy bill passed while diverting our attention to the “abortion” debate? Exxon-Mobil types, that made $25 BILLION in Profits last year, get BILLIONS more in tax-breaks. The caribou can rest easy knowing the ass in the White House is an oil industry stooge. So, with oil industry agents in the White House, the bigoted whiner who wrote the list will have to cope for a while.

> 7..) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel! for their oil. If they don’t like it, we go some place else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)

Hahahaha. I love Robin Williams; witty, often brilliant. The above logic more likely came from someone with the wisdom of an 11 year old redneck. But this is funny. We are the ones sending Cheney and Co. over to suck up to the Saudis to please keep their oil lines open for us, instead of selling it to China and India, the next two countries who will swallow our lunch —- and our oil.

> 8..) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not “interfere.” They can pray to Allah or

Ah, could we get any more bigoted and Muslim-bashing than this. Allah is the Muslim word for ONE GOD, the same one Christians and Jews believe in. Interestingly, most US AID goes to Christian nations in Africa etc. and also to Muslim and non-Muslim countries. But Jewish/Zionist ISRAEL sucks most US resources, even without a catastrophe, WHILE it SPIES on the US. But, of course, Mr. Williams is Jewish and I do not expect him (or the writer claiming to be Mr Williams) to remember that.

> whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

VERY true — because it is the US that keeps evil dictators in power in most countries around the world. Noriega, Hussain, Zia etc. in the past, Saudis, Musharaff, Mobarak, and many more, today…..

> 9..) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island some place. We don’t need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

It could also make a good place to arrest and detain so-called Americans who spy on America because their alliances lie with another state. I would also throw in people who are getting fat on welfare, redneck militia members, drug dealers, organized crime family members, latin gang members, and other assorted scum. Let’s unite them and then gas the building.

> 10.) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us “Ugly Americans” any longer. The Language we speak is ENGLISH…..learn it…or LEAVE…..

I agree with that……. unfortunately, considering the poor state of English (and education in general) we would probably lose half our own native-born American population in that case.

> Now, isn’t that a winner of a plan?

Yes, when you fill in the blanks, I think we have a more fair and equitable plan. That is just In My Humble Opinion ( http://imrananwar.blogspot.com – comments welcome)

Regards

Imran
http://imran.TV

Posted August 10, 2005

“Didn’t Bin Laden work for the CIA?” . “Well,….”

Someone asked recently, “Didn’t Bin Laden work for the CIA? Didn’t they train him and give him loads of money?”

Well, I do not think Bin Laden was technically a direct recruit of the CIA or an employee.

I understand he went to Afghanistan on his own to fight the Russians, for their invasion of a Muslim land. US said he is a good man for feeling that way.

The CIA and the US Govt. were busy actually promoting the word JIHAD in Muslim countries like Pakistan so uneducated masses could be exhorted to volunteer to go into battle against Russians, many times knowing they would be suicide missions. So, Bin Laden was a Godsend to the CIA and they worked well together. Training and resources were surely provided to him.

Of course, now we are paying the price. We said he was a hero when he wanted outside armies out of Muslim lands like Afghanistan. When he said OK, now American armies out of Saudi Arabia (his actual home country)Blair and Bush started talking as if this is some ideology from 1000 years ago. Now, last time I checked 1979 was not 1000 yers ago when the US Govt. and CIA created the JIHADI soldier.

The Russians are probably laughing at us every day we get mad dogs we trained biting at us around the world now.

Imran

Post date: Aug 4, 2005

Three Blind Mice Or One Boring Politician?

A FaceBook friend of mine, Amanda Bateman, posted a comment on her profile page with an interesting premise – that the three leading anchors on regular TV, Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson (plus, one assumes, their networks) are biased against poor Senator John McCain.

Her brief posting, cutely titled, “Three Blind Mice”, simply stated, “And the biased media continues…should we be surprised? Probably not.”

That was followed by the following three URLs.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kyle-drennen/2008/07/17/network-anchors-join-obama-world-tour-little-coverage-mccain-travel

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/07/if_a_network_anchor_falls_in_t.html

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/entertainment&id=6274320

Not that the media does NOT have a bias. Of course it does. It always appears biased in favor of whoever you oppose! But I was amused to read the first link. So, I posted a follow up note to Ms. Bateman’sc comment.

I acknowledged that she did make a valid point. But I went on to say that it was amusing to read the first link and have a real pro-Republican blogger quote the… (gulp)… New York Times for an objective comment. 🙂

I did not check that blog’s previous postings to see what they may have to say about some opinions that Fox News Channel simply is a Republican Party propaganda machine.

This is not to defend the anchors Amanda criticized above, or their myopic lemming-like networks. But, let’s not forget that, media bias not withstanding, the media reports things based on interestingness from the public’s perspective.

So, Britney Spears‘ sister having a baby gets on the cover of People magazine but not, say, the Sudanese leader possibly being charged with genocide.

Is that particular choice a show of “bias” against black politicians or world leaders? Of course not – though I am sure some will want to think so. No. We have to look at other possible angles also.

Even my Republican friends, and objective conservative media professionals all admit, McCain has just not been a very interesting candidate or politician in a very long while. He is NOT good at thinking on his feet when an unfamiliar question is posed to him.

(See this video online of him totally lost and clueless http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/mccain_respect_contraception/ ).

He seems uncomfortable with his position. All he can do is appear “resolute” in sticking to the failed policy of the war in Iraq.

People immediately “accuse” me that I must be some extreme liberal, or Democrat, if I dare criticize anything about Republicans. But, in fact, I am a thorough independent.

Ironically, I had been a loud supporter of John McCain for President in 2000 and fully believe we would have been far better off as a nation having him, despite his somewhat loose-cannon personality, as President than the joke of the millennium George W. Bush that fate, and the Supreme Court, foisted on us.

(2004’s re-election of George Bush is something Republicans and his voters have to take the blame for and know that history will judge their actions as the most destructive single influence starting America’s decline in the world at a time it should have been getting far more loved, respected and emulated worldwide).

So, much that I supported McCain over Bush in 2000, and much that I respected him for being a war hero (as opposed to a war Zero like Bush), I cannot bring myself to support him for President of the United States in 2008. He has served his country ably, well, sincerely, and should be commended and respected for that. That alone is not reason to elect him President.

Does that mean, somehow, that Obama is the perfect candidate. Surely not. Obama can make mistakes, Hillary can still cause trouble enough for the Democracks — sorry – Democrats to lose the election.

That means McCain can obviously not give up. But, just being a candidate does not a campaign make. He needs to smarten up. He has no momentum at present. He has no great ideas. He is sticking to bad ideas on Iraq. He is not exciting to the populace. Even worse, especially from the media perspective, he is just not interesting anymore.

That is what his campaign in disarray has to focus on. Try to make him be more exciting, interesting, and, yes, more creative and original than he is at present. Can it be done?

What do you think?

Economy, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan – Bad News All Around

Everywhere, on every news site, it seems there is nothing but conflict and bad news. The good news is… hold on, I am looking. Nope, I did not find any.

Just the top stories in “MyYahoo” is a litany of bad news, followed by worse.

It appears that the economic crisis we are facing today, with bank stocks melting (don’t even ask how much I lost on Citibank alone), hundreds of thousands facing foreclosure, credit cards and others squeezing customers, oil trying to hit $200, is not going to get better any time soon.

Item one, at least on my view of “Top News from Reuters”, is a report saying the government is mulling taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. What that means is that despite recent claims by their management, and top Bush economic officials, that the organizations have enough money, they in fact are preparing for a bailout. What that means for the rest of the economy, and for the American tax-payer, remains to be seen.

The second item shows that the Russians, still following the policies of Mr. Putin (whose eyes and soul apparently Mr. Bush seems to know intimately well), are actually using the recent Iranian missile tests as a reason for the USA NOT to deploy a missile shield. I am not quite sure I understand the “logic” of the Russians. I can understand them not wanting the US to deploy weapons systems that negate Russian military power, but using the (fairly) successful Iranian missile tests as a reason against that defies logic.

Wait, there is good news. The new iPhone is being snapped up by customers around the world. Great news. But, much that I love Apple and the iPhone, in the grand scheme of things, and in the serious issues we face, it is kind of silly for that news item to be displayed at par with the economic meltdown in America, the Russian military grumbling and the roar of Iranian rockets and potentially soon, Israeli jets.

The next item has me scratching my head. The Mexican government, which does not want to take back its 12 million illegal immigrants (including the many criminals and gang members they sent over), nor wants us to build a fence to keep these illegal hoards out of America, is taking us to court! And, not even our courts, but the ‘World Court’, where they are fighting to save five Mexican criminals from execution for deadly crimes committed in the USA! So, not only are we supposed to welcome their illegal riff-raff with open arms (doing which both Obama and McCain are falling over each other to show love for illegals), we are also supposed to welcome, and allow to roam free, those among them who commit murder or heinous crimes. Amazing.

For a second, my attention was caught by the next item – which could qualify as good news. Lebanon may be able to form a unity government. Whether that is good news or bad depends on which side of their internal strife you are on.

But, before I could dwell on that item, the last news item in that list of six top stories was just more bad news on several fronts.

Things in Afghanistan, the place where Bin Laden and his henchmen hid and planned their attacks on America, are getting worse. The Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan, and we are losing soldiers in Iraq. The Afghan government is getting weaker and Bin Laden is nowhere to be found, and we are preparing for an attack on Iran.

And, what did we just manage to do? Our mistaken bombing just killed 47 civilians there, including women and children. Surely not a sign of success in winning hearts and minds. Bad, very bad, news.

With Bin Laden still out there, the Taliban attacking us and our allies more and more, Iraq still a morass, our economy in meltdown, and oil aiming for $200, what is a President to do… why, start a new war of course! Hello, Iran. Hello, $300 oil. Hello, total economic meltdown.

What do you think?

MADvertising: Old Stereotype Underlies Sports Authority Under Armor New Prototype

Generally, I am not a big fan of people or organizations that see, or cry, racism, or sexism, or something-ism or the other, in almost anything, even if none was implied.

However, I also strongly believe that, regardless of the (low) merits of political correctness, it is imperative for businesses, especially those in communications or consumer industries, to be cognizant of how their work(s) may be perceived. Sometimes, a racist, or bigoted, or sexist, person may deliberately create advertising, or TV characters, or movie situations that play up stereotypes. Other times it is sheer cluelessness that leads to the same results.

The latest example of such, most likely clueless, MADvertising came into my Inbox just now. It is a Sports Authority electronic promotion for Under Armor brand sportswear.

Madvertising_SportsAuthorityUnderArmor.jpg

What amazes me about this image is the deliberate or inadvertent combination of racism, sexism, stereotyping as a big, strong, and apparently determined Black male is seen running after (or behind) an obviously weaker (single?) white female. Even worse, look at the expression on her face. She is not out running in a determined manner of an athlete. There is almost an expression as if she is concerned and stressed, and looking for shadows on the ground to see if someone is coming after her.

Yes, I can be accused to seeing imagery that is not there and imagining these issues where none were implied. But, that is the whole reason I call it MADvertising. Smart communicators and marketers avoid such potential pitfalls to the best of their abilities. This particular ad surely could have been done a lot better.

What do you think?

===

PS. This comment generated a lot of comments, as you can see below. I am quite amazed, and amused, by some of them, but displaying them regardless of the personal attacks. As can be seen, everyone’s comments have been posted…. even the ones from the same ‘anonymous’ using the same computer a few minutes apart. 🙂

It is also interesting to see many people completely miss my referring to this as most likely an example of clueless advertising (the world is full of more examples than just this) or MADvertising.

I think people also miss that I am personally sick of political correctness (or of pandering to particular races that a lot advertising is now doing). I am also sick of having to squint my eyes to read English instructions on product packaging because half of the space has been given up to Spanish. I detest having to choose between English and Spanish when I call banks or other companies’ phone numbers. This is America. We speak English. I feel if an organization has so many customers of a particular language or ethnic group then they should set up a separate 800 number for them instead of making their (most likely) 90%+ of English speaking customers to have to select what language to speak in their own country.

But, that does not mean I can claim there is no racism here. (I will be accused of being racist for the above comment, while being accused below of seeing racism where it does not exist!)

I do raise eyebrows when I see particular ads where, for example, the likelihood of seeing Black models tends to be higher if the ad depicts some sort of stupid behavior. Again, it is not only Blacks shown doing stupid things. There are plenty of ads showing stupidity (in the name of humor) with models who are white males, females or even groups of people. (I will post something about those separately later).

But, everyone’s comments are appreciated and are being posted here…. including the moronic ones. 😉

Imran