21 August 2011
Israel ‘regrets’ Egyptian deaths
Expect a rash of headlines like this. Newspapers tend to copy directly from the agencies and now the BBC and Washington Post have used these ‘scare quotes’ they will turn up everywhere.
The problem is their dual use as a record of direct speech and as a sign of scepticism. “Israel deeply regrets the deaths of the Egyptian officers,” AP quoted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying on Saturday. Ehud Barak said that Israel regrets the deaths of Egyptian policemen and there is no reason to doubt that he said it or meant it.
I am commenting wherever I can:
Is there any doubt that the Israeli Minister of Defence regrets the deaths of the Egyptians? Provide evidence if you think not. Why not Israel ‘regrets Egyptian deaths’? Isn’t that what was actually said?
Action Items: Israel ‘regrets’ Egyptian deaths, averting diplomatic crisis Leila Fadel and Joel Greenberg, Washington Post, August 21