Reuters Adopts Albright's Critique of W's 'Religious Absolutism'

Imagine you're a newswire editor writing the headline for a story in which former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has accused Pres. Bush of 'religious absolutism.' What would be a fair headline? Something like:

Albright Accuses Bush of 'Religious Absolutism'

Now consider Reuters' actual headline:

Albright Critical of Bush's Religious Absolutism

Note the not-so-subtle difference. We've moved from Albright accusing Bush of religious absolutism, to Reuters effectively reporting Bush's absolutism as a fact, of which Albright is simply critical. Not even a set of quotation remarks around 'religious absolutism' to clarify that the words are Albright's, and not unquestioned fact.

The story itself, linked here, only reinforces the image of a biased Reuters. Excerpts:

"Bush, a Republican, has openly acknowledged his Christian faith informs his decisions as president. He says, for example, that he prayed to God for guidance before invading Iraq."

"Some Muslims have accused him of waging a crusade against Islam, comparable with those of the Middle Ages. The White House says it has nothing against Islam, but against those who commit terrorist atrocities in its name. But Albright says Bush's religious absolutism has made U.S. foreign policy 'more rigid and more difficult for other countries to accept.'"

An aside. The article also quotes Albright as saying the war in Iraq "may eventually rank among the worst foreign policy disasters in U.S. history."

That is the same Albright who, before the war, said:

"[I] think that clearly Iraq Is a very, very serious problem ... Iraq is a very serious problem, and clearly has a lot of weapons of mass destruction ." (NBC's Meet The Press, 2/9/03)

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.