March 15, 2007

Learn the Tech, Or Take Up Baking

As you've probably come to understand by now, reporters that don't understand the subject matter they write about really irritate me. Enter the Associated Press' Kim Gamel (my bold):

The U.S. military said the attack against the Americans began when a bomb went off as a U.S. unit was returning from a search operation, Moments later, a second bomb exploded, killing the four and wounding two other soldiers.

A demolition team that searched the site after the attack found an explosively formed projectile, a type of high-tech bomb the U.S. military believes is being supplied by Iran in support of Shiite militias. The device was detonated by the team.

This is an explosively formed projectile:


It is a spent bullet, an expended hunk of metal, no longer a threat.

What Gamel meant to write that they detonated an explosively formed penetrator, one of these:


This is a live explosive device, and a very dangerous one. This is what EOD team destroyed, not the inert slug of metal as Gamel misreported.

It's rather disappointing that we can't trust a professional war reporter for the world's largest news organization to get such important distinctions correct, but a disappointment that is now hardly surprising.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 15, 2007 09:20 PM

Funny thing is, Gamel was one of the few AP-Iraq reporters who bothered to check out Jamil Hussein's stories. I wish she'd be more precise.

(She is a she, right? I know a guy named Kim.)

Posted by: see-dubya at March 16, 2007 07:02 AM

I'm not surprised.

These are people who write of semi-automatic pistols calling them "revolvers;" or id a naked bullet as a "cartridge," and more frequently vice versa, and other such ignorance.

"Center Median" AAAAAhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

"Prior Record" YECH!!!!!!

"Rate of Speed" PLEEEEEEEEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

"One of the most distinctive jet fighters of all time, the F-14 Tomcat was officially retired in Navy ceremonies today. Its career spanned over 30 years since its inception in the mid-70s."

Span MEANS "stretch/extend OVER" for crying out loud! It doesn't need help! "...spanned MORE than 30 years..." would have been much better,


"Authorities said they were dropping 18 care packages in the area, which each will include clothing, a wool blanket, gloves, waterproof overalls, flares, a flashlight, a hand-warmer and rations."

Return back

"A video of the cone-shaped Goddard vehicle shows it climbing to about 85m (285ft) before returning back to Earth."

One wonders what this writer thinks "return" means. Was the rocket "returning forward" before "returning back?"
Yes, I've started a file of these inanities.

Hello News Writers?

Words MEAN things. Words are your ONLY tools. Please learn what they mean, and how to use them.

And, if you're covering a war, please at least learn the basics. Why on earth would you want to blow up a spent projectile?

It's that bullet/cartridge thing. It requires some nuanced thinking, I know, but you can do it.

Posted by: Bill Smith at March 16, 2007 01:10 PM