Distorted Coverage of Giuliana Sgrena Shooting

Even though the fact that the car Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was in was running through a checkpoint at high speed when she was shot has been out for hours, the headlines are still misportraying the incident:

Apparently, the misperception is driving reality:


Update (0858): The best one yet:

The. Reporter. Was. Not. Killed.

Update (1853): See “Questions in Giuliana Sgrena Shooting” for a follow-up.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brian J. says:

    Perhaps Reuters means the reporter did some killing.

  2. ruidi says:

    “The Americans and Italians knew about (her) car coming,”


  3. Kappiy says:

    Aside from the blatant falsity of the Reuters headline [which the story itself clearly dismisses], I am not sure how you can contend, James, that the other headlines are “misportraying the incident.”

    Each article (exceept the one covering the Italian press) clearly reports the US military’s contention that the car was speeding towards a checkpoint.

    As the headlines (except Reuters) correctly portray–a journalist WAS wounded by US troops, Bush has told Berlusconi he will investigate, and the Italian press is shocked.

    Where is the misportrayal?

    Is the conservative Washingon Times misportraying the story with their headline: “U.S. friendly fire kills one Italian”?

  4. James Joyner says:

    The headline should accurately and succinctly portray the truth. Most people never read beyond the headline.

    The fact that she was wounded is hardly the key to the story when she was running a checkpoint. The headlines convey the impression that she was innocently minding her own business and that there is some sort of scandal here, neither of which appears true.

  5. JakeV says:

    James, you’re in the wrong on this one. The simple, straightforward and uncontroverted fact here is that American troops shot Sgrena and Calipari. Everything else is still under investigation. Given this, it would be irresponsible for the headline to say what you want it to.

    Are you willing to accept the initial version of the story offered by the military as gospel, as incontrovertible fact? Your use of the word “appears” suggests that you aren’t, to your credit. And given that you felt the need to equivocate with “there appears to be no scandal,” why would you expect more certainty from the headlines?

    Headlines should report the facts, as you say. The headlines you are complaining about reported the facts. You seem to want them to report a still-disputed interpretation instead.

  6. JakeV says:

    Moreover, both Sgrena and the wounded agent also in the car appear to be claiming that the shooting did not occur at a checkpoint, but was carried out by a patrol. (For this, see the center-right Italian daily Corriere della Sera: http://www.corriere.it)

    James, your position here seems indefensible. The facts are still in dispute, and the headlines you criticize accurately reflect this.

  7. McGehee says:

    Some people still dispute the fact the “Killian memos” were forgeries. At what point do we stop letting the deliberately obtuse dictate what is and isn’t generally accepted fact?