Spot the problems with these headlines: NYT edition

First, from Israel:


Nope. Once a rocket is fired from Gaza, the cease-fire no longer exists and can therefore not be broken by the Israeli response to said rockets. Pity the poor headline writers at the New York Times who know not the definition of cease-fire. Although, I’m gonna guess if Israelis had actually broken a cease-fire, they’d find their dictionaries real quick.


And, in Ferguson:

ferguson  power

Now, looking at the headline, you might reasonably think that this piece is about some dangerous strain of, well, a white power movement in the center of the cauldron of racial unrest that is Ferguson, Missouri right now. Only, it’s not about that at all. It’s a relatively dry political socio-economic history of St. Louis and its suburbs that describes how the suburban political power structures have not been penetrated by relatively new black populations, and are populated by white politicians. The piece certainly has a viewpoint, arguing for consolidation of such small towns to give black communities bigger talent pools for politicians, and therefore more political power. (I’m not convinced that such proportionate representation in a city’s power structure necessarily means better things for the black community, especially since one of the examples of such consolidation of power is Detroit, but I digress.) Here’s the thesis (emphasis mine):

By contrast, consider the city: After decades of methodically building political power, blacks in St. Louis City elected a black mayor in 1993 and black aldermen or alderwomen in nearly half the city’s wards, and hold two of three seats on the powerful Board of Estimate and Apportionment, which must approve all city contracts. Well-established churches, Democratic ward organizations and other civic institutions mobilize voters in black wards. But because blacks have reached the suburbs in significant numbers only over the past 15 years or so, fewer suburban black communities have deeply ingrained civic organizations.

That helps explain why majority-black Ferguson has a virtually all-white power structure: a white mayor; a school board with six white members and one Hispanic, which recently suspended a highly regarded young black superintendent who then resigned; a City Council with just one black member; and a 6 percent black police force.

Many North County towns — and inner-ring suburbs nationally — resemble Ferguson. Longtime white residents have consolidated power, continuing to dominate the City Councils and school boards despite sweeping demographic change. They have retained control of patronage jobs and municipal contracts awarded to allies.

The North County Labor Club, whose overwhelmingly white constituent unions (plumbers, pipe fitters, electrical workers, sprinkler fitters) have benefited from these arrangements, operates a potent voter-turnout operation that backs white candidates over black upstarts. The more municipal contracts an organization receives, the more generously it can fund re-election campaigns. Construction, waste and other long-term contracts with private firms have traditionally excluded blacks from the ownership side and, usually, the work force as well.


The North County Labor Club, you say? Backing white candidates over black upstarts, you say? It’s almost as if the headline recklessly uses an irrelevant loaded term to give its readers a vision of one type of villain when the actual culprit, if there is one, is a fully functioning arm of the Democratic Party. But that can’t be.

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