A colleague of mine fisked a recent Reuters piece, focusing on their peculiar, consistent word choices. I think he is right on the money on two scores: First, that organizations have style guides, and you can judge the guidance by closely reading the results, such as the article below. Second, Reuters has a Jew problem.
The Reuters piece is reproduced below in order to support an inline critique. I assert that this is Fair Use.
The bracketed annotations are my colleague’s. Everything below is either from the original article or those notes in brackets.
Ancient tablets reveal life of Jews in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon
By Luke Baker
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A new exhibition of ancient clay tablets discovered in modern-day Iraq is shedding light for the first time on the daily life of Jews exiled to Babylon some 2,500 years ago. [Given what comes below, I am shocked this paragraph got through.]
The exhibition is based on more than 100 cuneiform tablets, each no bigger than an adult’s palm, that detail transactions and contracts between Judeans [Why change from “Jews”?] driven from, or convinced to move from [Wow! But it gets worse.], Jerusalem [Reuters’s style guide apparently prevents saying Israel or Judea. The latter would presumably be appropriate if the prior “Judeans” was the most correct term.] by King Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BC.
Archaeologists got their first chance to see the tablets — acquired by a wealthy [As opposed to the poor kind of collector? NBC did not include “wealthy”. http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/clay-tablet-jackpot-reveals-how-jews-lived-babylon-n299201 ] London-based Israeli collector — barely two years ago. They were blown away.
“It was like hitting the jackpot,” said Filip Vukosavovic, an expert in ancient Babylonia, Sumeria and Assyria who curated the exhibition at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum.
“We started reading the tablets and within minutes we were absolutely stunned. It fills in a critical gap in understanding of what was going on in the life of Judeans in Babylonia more than 2,500 years ago.”
Nebuchadnezzar, a powerful ruler famed for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, came to Jerusalem several times as he sought to spread the reach of his kingdom. [That sentence alone is worth the price of admission.]
Each time he came — and one visit coincided [Just a coincidence, apparently.] with the destruction of Jerusalem’s first temple in 586 BC — he either forced or encouraged [“or encouraged” must have been an edit because it does not logically modify “exile”] the exile of thousands of Judeans.
One exile in 587 BC saw around 1,500 people make the perilous journey via modern-day Lebanon and Syria to the fertile crescent of southern Iraq [Reuters can refer to these three modern nations, but not refer to the origin as Israel even though if you define your origin as Jerusalem or Judea you would have to go through other parts of Israel to get to Lebanon.], where the Judeans traded, ran businesses and helped the administration of the kingdom.
“They were free to go about their lives, they weren’t slaves,” Vukosavovic said. [More of Apartheid, then?] “Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t a brutal ruler in that respect. He knew he needed the Judeans to help revive the struggling Babylonian economy.”
The tablets, each inscribed in minute Akkadian script, detail trade in fruits and other commodities, taxes paid, debts owed and credits accumulated.
The exhibition details one Judean family over four generations, starting with the father, Samak-Yama, his son, grandson and his grandson’s five children, all with Biblical Hebrew names, many of them still in use today. [But not much longer hopefully. Also, other sources note one of the names was “Netanyahu”. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/2500-year-old-jewish-tablets-discovered-in-iraq/]
“We even know the details of the inheritance made to the five great-grandchildren,” said Vukosavovic. “On the one hand it’s boring details, but on the other you learn so much about who these exiled people were and how they lived.”
Vukosavovic describes the tablets as completing a 2,500-year puzzle. While many Judeans returned to Jerusalem [Just to Jerusalem? Or perhaps to some area around it that needs a name.] when the Babylonians allowed [“allowed”? Oops! Reuters forgot to change this to correspond to prior non-mandatory language.] it after 539 BC, many others stayed and built up a vibrant Jewish [“Judean”?] community that lasted two millennia [Until…].
“The descendants of those Jews only returned to Israel [What a quandry! Even if Reuters had the balls to edit a quote, they can’t say Judea or Jerusalem because they were occupied by Jordan. They can’t say Palestine, because that would suggest that the Jews are the true Palestinians…] in the 1950s,” he said, a time when many in the diaspora moved [Apparently, they were not even “encouraged” or “convinced to move”…] from Iraq, Persia [Why not “Iran”?], Yemen and North Africa to the newly created [Never ever existed before? Can’ t even say “revived”?] state.
(Editing by Gareth Jones [That’s a fitting name for an anti-Semite.])