Good, Bad, and Ugly

Reader reaction to Reuters news



Germany regrets McChrystal Afghanistan departure

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// AFGHANISTAN/MCCHRYSTALDJIBOUTI June 23 (Reuters) – German Defence Minister Karl-Theo zu Guttenberg said on Wednesday he regretted the departure of U.S. General Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in Afghanistan.

“McChrystal was a very reliable partner. I regret not being to work with him any longer,” said Guttenberg, on a trip to visit German troops in the Horn of Africa.

Again Reuters. I come to you for news, not speculative bulls–t.

Germany does not regret the firing of an insubordinate American General leading a VERY unpopular war. The Reuters headline for the article is false and deceiving.

The German Defense Minister, purportedly made a statement saying he regretted not being able to work with McChrystal any longer.

Better educated babies?


Women in US having children later, better educated

USA/The misplaced modifier makes for an amusing headline, but not one that was intended to be so.

It is the mothers, not the babies, who are better educated.

Mary E.

Indeed. We fixed it: GBU Editor

A mother kisses her baby during the closing prayer after remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 25, 2009.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Million vs. billion, again…

- BP to invest £650 billion plus in alt energy

LAGUNA NIGUEL, California (Reuters) – Oil major BP Plc  plans to invest more than $1 billion (650 million pounds) this year on alternative energy development, the head of BP’s alternative energy unit said on Tuesday.

BP is not investing £650 BILLION plus – the article clearly states £650 MILLION (or ONE BILLION dollars)

The last scupper?


Volcanic ash cloud may scupper Polish funeral plan

CYPRUS-ELECTION/The title reads “Volcanic ash cloud may scupper Polish funeral plan” and I am wondering if this should not be “Volcanic ash cloud may scuttle Polish funeral plan” instead.

Russian Jack

No, scupper was the right word, but for the wrong audience.

In British English it means to prevent from happening or succeeding. It doesn’t mean that to most speakers of American English, and thus should be avoided, especially in headlines: GBU Editor

Turning the tables


Pakistan tables long-awaited constitutional reforms PAKISTAN-BHUTTO/

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The Pakistani government introduced a constitutional bill in parliament Friday to transfer President Asif Ali Zardari’s sweeping powers to the prime minister, possibly ending months of political wrangling.

The set of reforms, known as the “18th Amendment Bill,” is expected to be passed by the two-chambered parliament, effectively turning Zardari into a titular head of state.

No pun intended?



Healthcare reform sorecard?

Was this a typo or was it meant as a pun?


I’d like to claim it was a clever bit of wordplay, but since the actual piece refers to a “scorecard,” then I guess it was a typo. We fixed it: GBU Editor

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Not a U.S. slave ship…


amistad 490

Replica of U.S. slave ship sails into Havana

HAVANA (Reuters) – A replica of the 19th century slave ship Amistad, made famous in a Stephen Spielberg movie, sailed into Havana Bay on Thursday with U.S. and Cuba flags flying side by side in a hopeful display of friendship.

The original Amistad set sail from Havana with captives from Sierra Leone in 1839 en route to Haiti. The Africans killed the captain and took over the ship but ended up at Long Island in New York.



EU exec to put Greek plan to finmins, Germany doubtful

EUROFIN/What on earth is a “finmin?”

James T.

It’s a bit of headline shorthand for finance ministers, but it doesn’t travel well, especially in places that don’t have finance ministers.

We should avoid using it in headlines unless we absolutely must. This instance was especially confusing, because we didn’t spell out the phrase until the third paragraph: GBU Editor

A continent, not a country…


Italian hostage in Africa heard in Internet appeal
MAURITANIA/ROME (Reuters) – An Italian hostage who was seized with his wife in eastern Mauritania in December has urged Prime Minister Silvo Berlusconi to intervene to secure their release in an audio clip posted on the Internet.

I am curious as to the headline used in this story “Italian hostage in Africa . . .”

It is wrong given that the specific country is known, i.e. Mauritania, and also another form of the media’s misrepresentation of the continent, given its diverse people and countries.

Hanged, not hung


Baghdad bombs kill 36, Chemical Ali hung

IRAQ/TRIAL/ALIUm, it’s “Hanged”, executed, put to death, killed by hanging…never “Hung”! As John Cleese might have said, that would be “something completely different”!


Of course. We did use “hanged” on most of our news feeds, but hung briefly showed up on one site until we fixed it: GBU Editor