These two headlines from The Telegraph shocked me. Do they not make it seem war is underway or about to formally begin between Israel and Iran?
1) Armada of British naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike
2) Iran plans military exercises in preparation for Israeli strike on nuclear facilities
What is up with that? Don’t go around saying Israel is going to hit Iran unless Israel really is going to do that AND you lead your article with clear evidence that such a thing is about to occur.
Both headlines lack any hedging words. The first one also fails to mention that the “massing” is part of an annual, 12-day exercise. Here is they key graf: “In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise.” Hunh? And yeah, I see the clarifying subhed that reads in part “in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike.” But a more accurate subhed does not excuse a misleading headline.
And the second one? Man, add a “potential” before “Israeli strike.” Without it, it seems like a done deal. Even the subhed fails to hedge, as it should. The first paragraph is better: “The exercise is being showcased as the biggest air defence war game in the Islamic Republic’s history and will be Iran’s most visible response yet to mounting speculation that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may order a military strike this autumn.”