How the Media “Edits” Some Stories (1)
Last week, Canada’s Task Force Afghanistan commander Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance spoke to CBC Radio about what’s happening in Afghanistan. It was a 20 minute interview (.mp3 here or here), and it led to some follow-up coverage by Agence France-Presse:
The military situation in Afghanistan is “serious” and “desperate,” the top Canadian commander in the country, General Jonathan Vance, warned in an interview with CBC television station.
“It’s a serious, desperate situation. It’s a major emergency,” he said.
He said it was important to explain the situation to the Afghan and Canadian publics, but not to “sugar coat anything, and it’s certainly not to make the mission seem better than it is.”
“But (I)… try and put all of that into some sort of context such that people — whether they believe we should be here or not — at least they understand,” he said in the 20 minute interview broadcast Wednesday.
Afghanistan is in a “serious, desperate situation” which constitutes a major emergency, Canada’s top commander on the ground said in a frank interview broadcast Wednesday.
Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance made his remarks at the end of a 25-minute interview with the CBC which looked at the tasks confronting Canada’s 2,700 strong mission in southern Afghanistan.
“It’s not to sugar coat anything, and it’s certainly not to make the mission seem better than it is. It’s a serious, desperate situation. It’s a major emergency,” he said.
“But (I) … try and put all of that into some sort of context such that people — whether they believe we should be here or not — at least they understand.”
and Al Jazeera:
Meanwhile, General Jonathan Vance, the chief Canadian commander in Afghanistan, described the military situation as “serious” and “desperate”.
“It’s a major emergency,” he said said in an interview on Canadian televison on Wednesday.
Note the herd effect?
I’ve highlighted quotes from the interview in red to make an interesting point.
Here’s a transcript of the CBC interview (PDF). About 20 minutes of chat works out to about 2,900 words.
The longest quote used in the follow-up stories?
56 words – from a response to the last question of the interview.
Translation: these wire service stories are explaining, at best, TWO PER CENT of an interview in their stories.
What did they miss? More on that in the next post….