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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Size Tens Seen around the World International headlines focus less on the act, more on the significance of the insult By Jane Kim

Al Jazeera’s story ran a modest headline (“Shoe attack mars Bush’s Iraq visit”), but contained a bolder line in the future tense, forecasting the president’s reputation and presuming the cast and tint of retrospective coverage: “The incident will serve as a vivid reminder of the widespread opposition to the US-led invasion of, and subsequent war in, Iraq - the conflict which has come to define Bush’s presidency.” Meanwhile, the UK’s Independent put forth a straightforward and harsh interpretation of the incident: “Iraqi journalist gives verdict on Bush’s reign by voting with his feet.” India’s Economic Times also took a this-is-how-Bush-will-be-remembered tack, with a headline that read: “Arab world hails shoe attack as Bush’s farewell gift.” Its lead? “Iraq faced mounting calls on Monday to release the journalist who hurled his shoes at George W. Bush, an action branded shameful by the government but hailed by many in the Arab world as an ideal parting gift to the US president.” The Times of India account said the same thing (its title: “For Arabs, ‘shoe’ is a four-letter word”), but with far more generalized and reactive verbiage: “Arab correspondents through the region have called the act as embodying the Middle East’s hatred for the outgoing American president.”


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