Quote malpractice

allahu_akbar_t_shirt-p235035843064588490t5tr_400I'm preparing to do a larger post looking at the two distinct ways that the mainstream media have been covering the story of the shooting at Fort Hood -- either viewing religion as a major aspect of the shooter's motivation or working overtime to avoid considering religion as a major aspect. In my research, I came across this CNN interview of a private who was wounded during the attack. It's an interesting video interview that was written up for CNN.com. Here's how the write-up of the interview begins:

Fort Hood, Texas (CNN) -- Pvt. Joseph Foster was filling out routine paperwork for his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan on Thursday when he heard a shout quickly followed by a burst of gunfire from just a few feet away.

"I was sitting in about the second row back when the assailant stood up and yelled 'Allahu akbar' in Arabic and he opened fire," Foster said Monday on CNN's "American Morning."

Foster, 21, said he wasn't clear about whether the gunman said those exact words, noting that "with that much adrenaline, you tend to forget things."

The only problem is that Foster didn't say he was unclear about whether the gunman said those exact words. Maybe two minutes after he describes the 'Allahu akbar' shout, interviewer John Roberts, asks him if he didn't realize he'd been shot. He responds that he realized it when it happened but "with that much adrenaline, you tend to forget things."

Before one can understand the religious aspects of this story, journalists need to just get the facts straight.

I should note that a separate story on the CNN.com site does not make the same error. That story, which you can read here, changes the name of the private from Joseph to Robert. Not sure what the story is there.

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