Media: At Reuters, ‘Not Refuting’ Is the Same as ‘Seeing’

26 April 2017 — FAIR

Top U.S. general in Afghanistan sees Russia sending weapons to TalibanTop US general in Afghanistan does not say what Reuters‘ headline says he said.

“Top US General in Afghanistan Sees Russia Sending Weapons to Taliban” was Reuters’ headline over a April 25 story.

Well, that sounds like news! Tell me more, Reuters’ Idrees Ali:

The head of US and international forces in Afghanistan said on Monday he was “not refuting” reports that Russia was providing support, including weapons, to the Taliban….

Asked about reports that Russia was providing a range of help, including weapons, to the Taliban, who control large areas of Afghanistan, [Gen. John] Nicholson replied: “Oh no, I am not refuting that.”

“I am not refuting that”? How does that translate into “General…Sees Russia Sending Weapons to Taliban”? If NASA tells Reuters that they can’t refute speculation that there might be life on Mars, will Reuters run a story headlined “NASA Sees Life on Mars”? That would be a scoop!

Ali writes that Nicholson’s no-comment comments “are among the strongest suggestions yet that Moscow is providing arms to the Taliban.” Maybe next time Reuters could wait for a somewhat stronger suggestion—involving actual evidence, perhaps—before running a story that could inflame the new Cold War.


Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org. You can find him on Twitter at @JNaureckas.

Messages to Reuters may be sent through this website (or via Twitter: @Reuters). Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

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