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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Tuesday, November 26, 2002
6:26 PM

That Rod Dreher article I link to below is a gold mine. It also touches on the vauge cycle-of-violence descriptions by the media of the riots started by Muslims when that poor reporter said Muhammad would have married one of the beauty queens. (He doesn't mention the Post in this context). I was too busy to blog it before, but briefly, this Post story tends toward the cycle-of-violence version:

LAGOS, Nigeria, Nov. 22 -- Street violence between Muslims and Christians flared for a third day in the Nigerian city Kaduna today and spread to the capital, Abuja. Local Red Cross officials said more than 100 people had died in the fighting, which began as a protest against the Miss World pageant scheduled to convene in the capital...

This morning, Christian youths in Kaduna turned out in defiance of a round-the-clock curfew ordered by the authorities and launched attacks against mosques and other Muslim targets. Some people, buildings and cars were set ablaze by rampaging mobs.

By mid-morning, plumes of smoke were rising into the skies of the city, which is inhabited by roughly equal populations of both faiths. On Thursday, churches and other Christian property had been widely targeted by Muslims...

Although it does eventually get around to the original problem:

The violence was triggered Wednesday by an article in a national daily newspaper, ThisDay, that suggested that the prophet Muhammad would have approved of the beauty contest, which Islamic clerics in the country's mainly Muslim north have opposed as "a parade of nudity."...Angry Muslim mobs, accusing the newspaper of blasphemy, burned down its office building in Kaduna on Wednesday morning...

And this subsequent Post story on Monday is a bit more clear:

LAGOS, Nigeria, Nov. 24 -- The death toll from riots sparked by Muslim opposition to hosting of the Miss World pageant rose to more than 200, officials said today, as violence continued to spread across the country.

Despite the decision of the Miss World organizers to move the pageant to London, rioting continued in the northern city of Kaduna, where Muslim anger erupted last Wednesday when a local newspaper columnist suggested that the prophet Muhammad might have taken one of the contestants as a wife....

Muslim militants burned the northern regional office of the newspaper, ThisDay, and then attacked Christians and churches. Kaduna's Christian population has launched reprisal attacks against Muslim targets, pushing up the death toll, according to hospital officials and the local Red Cross...

Both stories have cycle-of-violence heds:

The first, Religious Violence Spreads in Nigeria

The second, Death Toll in Nigeria Climbs Past 200 as Violence Spreads

UPDATE: This is the right first-day hed, in the Washington Times:

Muslim rioting kills 50, injures 200

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Muslim mobs burned churches and butchered bystanders yesterday in rioting that erupted after a newspaper suggested Islam's founding prophet would have approved of the upcoming Miss World beauty pageant. At least 50 persons were killed and 200 injured. The violent demonstrators in the northern city of Kaduna burned churches and rampaged through the streets until hundreds of soldiers were deployed to restore calm and enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew...

The lede is better too. In the Post, street violence flares and a death toll rises. In the Times, Muslim mobs burn churches and butcher bystanders. If you're running a lede contest in Journalism 101 and change the religious affiliation to subvert the PC filter, which lede wins?

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