Saturday 30 January 2021

Another Tale of Two Headlines


Here's a cryptic BBC headline: 

Fire breaks out at asylum-seekers barracks

What does that mean? The use of the passive tense suggests it could have been accidental (an unattended chip pan, some faulty wiring). But it's ambiguous and could also mean it had been started deliberately. But if the latter, by whom? By racist local residents attacking the asylum seekers maybe? Or by the asylum seekers themselves?

Ah, read on!...

"The fire began [passive tense again] after "upset" residents "caused a bit of a ruckus in the dining room", a charity said."

So it was the asylum seekers ("residents"). But a supportive charity says they were "upset" and it was only "a bit of a ruckus", so no big deal by the sounds of it:

Contrast that with this far more instantly understandable Daily Mail headline:

Another contrast is that the BBC uses the term "asylum seeker" while the Mail used "migrants".

Different agenda I suppose.

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