Poor Copy Cats
The story is ostensibly about the lack of effective prosecutions against suspected terrorists and how the reality of those prosecutions does not match the rhetoric coming out of the Bush administration. But The Washington Post at least provides some analysis, and allows the justice department to defend both its use of the numbers, and to explain its view of them. For example, it allows counterterrorism chief Barry Sabin to explain that oftentimes suspects are ultimately prosecuted on lesser, immigration charges because either the prosecution is not confident of getting a conviction on more serious charges (and so they employ what is essentially the Al Capone tax evasion strategy) or because the defendant has provided useful information in exchange for a lesser charge. Perhaps this is just administration spin, but at least it gives the reader something to think about. Likewise, the Post gives the opinion of different “experts” each of whom have differing takes on the significance of the numbers.
The Guardian dispenses with all of this, well, reporting, and presents the Post story in the most simplistic and non-contextual terms. As a result, its readers are cheated out of what was actually an interesting story. (I have some questions about the Post story as well, but it was largely even-handed and objective.)
Of course, never one to pass up an opportunity to mount the Guantanamo hobby horse, The Guardian finds it necessary to insert this non-sequitur into what is otherwise a story about domestic arrests and prosecutions:
The administration's list does not include those held at Guantánamo Bay or under US jurisdiction elsewhere in the world.I do wish they could make up their minds about Guantanamo. Do they think the people held there are prisoners of war entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention, or are they domestic criminals against whom criminal charges are in order?