CondiThe article is called “Rice and Syrian Discuss Borders at Iraq Meeting.”  If that isn’t jingoistic enough, one of the subheads reads “She Tries to Confer With Iranian, Too.” 

Try out the word “Italian” or “Frenchman” to see how stupid it sounds.

Already on high red alert, we drag our sorry asses down through paragraph 3, only to soon find:

But he [Foreign Minister Motaki of Iran] left the dinner, held by Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt, before Ms. Rice arrived — and apparently before eating.

At the day’s lunch,…

All right.  I don’t know what Motaki’s problem was — food poisoning?  a leg injury from getting kicked under the table?  hurt feelings? — but thank heavens Mr. Gheit was there to catch him and hold him up. 

Wait.  Did I miss something?  Oh, my bad.  He “held” him, not held him up.  Much more loving.  More caring.  Either they’re fantastic old pals, or… perhaps something more, Governor McGreevey?

Touched, I can’t wait to get to the next paragraph.  “At the day’s lunch…” begins the chunk.  Whoa.  Are we backtracking now?  I remember learning in high school that one should never go back in time in a news article until one has thoroughly covered the current topic.  Then the writer can go and fill in the history.  But this feels like an amateurish movie effect–an on-screen ripple-dissolve as the main character caresses his own chin and looks at the ceiling in wonder, harp music playing… 

It’s like the dot-dot-dot I just typed.  Bad New York Times!  I won’t blame authors Cooper and Slackman so much.  I’ll blame their copy editor and their editor!

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