At last I’ve come to understand the value of Twitter. It cuts to the chase.
This Tweet came in 25 minutes ago from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, on the ground in Cairo.
“It’s not quite right to describe what’s happening in Tahrir (Square) as ‘clashes.’ These are attacks by Mubarak thugs.”
So what does the homepage of Kristof’s New York Times say today? Under the headline, “Mubarak Allies and Foes Clash in Street,” the lead article reads:
CAIRO — President Obama’s calls for a rapid transition to a new order in Egypt seemed eclipsed on Wednesday as a choreographed surge of thousands of people chanting support for the Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak, fought running battles with a larger number of antigovernment protesters in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Granted, The Times lead uses the word “choreographed” to imply what’s really going on. Kristof’s Tweet, however, doesn’t mince words.
In today’s world of news, in other words, we can try to read the tea leaves of official accounts ourselves or turn to those we trust to read those tea leaves for us and speak in unambiguous, plain English. It makes for an interesting choice, with both options having value.
UPDATE: Kristof’s powerful blog about today’s violence in Tahrir Square can be found here.