What’s in a Headline? – Obama, Libya and Pundits

Every morning right after I open my eyes and before I get out of bed I grab my Iphone.  I check my work mail, then go straight to the news.

For the news, I go to Facebook which being so much more than just the social network of a few years ago is now my news reader.

Today, the news was all about Obama and all the different takes each various news outlet has.

Well, I didn’t watch Obama’s speech, and I didn’t read any of the articles.  I simply read the headlines and the brief description that accompanies them.  Immediately my mind jumps into high gear and a post is starting to form.

I quickly head downstairs to get the thoughts on paper as well as drink my Green Oolong with ginseng and am now sufficiently caffeinated to just dump all of these ideas down on the GC.

So, without further delay, I’ll give you a look into my head with this post, “What’s in a Headline” – The thoughts that ran through my head this morning.

1.  Obama’s Libya speech

– As I mentioned above, I didn’t watch it.  But I can guess it was something along the lines of not sitting by while thousands of people are slaughtered by Gaddafi.

*Side note, there have been quite a few spellings of the dictators name, so I’ll just stick with the one above.

2.  Unyielding President Leaves Some Unswayed – NPR

– Why did we mobilize the US military in Libya?  And why now?
– But for some, the President’s defense of intervention fell short.

a.) Why did we mobilize the US military in Libya?  And why now?

I never liked the use of “we” when referring to government and companies.  This first occurred to me in college when a few acquaintances got their first jobs.  Just after they joined, they would say “We just listed on the stock exchange,” or “We are starting to go global.”

As a language major I found it interesting that they included themselves with the use of “we” when in actuality they had nothing to do with the major moves of the company.  For me, I would just use the company name and say something like “X decided to go global so everyone is excited.”

In a similar vein, regular citizens had no say in deciding whether the US should get involved in Libya.  There was no vote, and even congress had no say.  It was decided by the leaders at the top so I really wouldn’t use “we” here.  Instead I would say the “U.S. Government decided to get involved in Libya.”  I for one was not consulted in the matter so please keep me out of your collective “we.”  (Even though I agreed with the intervention

b.) but for some, the President’s defense of intervention fell short.

I really dislike it when journalists pose the opposite opinion this way.  It just sounds a bit too much like Fox news with their “some say,” then enter a bunch of random nonsense.

When you think about it, there will be opponents to just about everything imaginable, do we really have to include every other opinion on every single subject?  Here are some examples.


– Most people like flowers but for some, they cause terrible allergies and believe that society should do away with flowers for the good of the country.


– Many people like babies, but for some, they are just very loud annoyances which often make a mess in their diapers which contribute to the pollution of the environment.

Yes, of course there will be dissenting opinions, I guess I’m just ruined on this particular phrase thanks to Fox News and company and their stupid rebuttals.

3.  Obama Cites Limits of U.S. Role in Libya – The New York Times

President Obama defended the American-led military assault in Libya, saying it was in the national interest of the United States to stop a potential massacre.

Yes, I said this in the forum.  Glad to hear Obama is on board with the GC’s view.  “Some say” that it might be due to oil, but you might recall that the US was on good terms with Gaddafi ever since the war in Afghanistan started and he decided to get out of the nuke business.  So “we” already had a friend in Gaddafi and his oil.  I would think this is about something else and that something else being to stop the killing AND for the reason Al Jazeera points out below.

4.  Flight of the Valkyries – Foreign Affairs

Pundits and spin doctors were quick to jump on the supposed “gender divide” within the Obama administration leading up to the intervention in Libya.  What role, if any does gender play in policy making?

– Commentators are falling over themselves to explain the “gender divide” among Obama’s staff.  But these discussions reveal far more about gender misconceptions among foreign policy journalists than about the preferences or influence of Obama’s female foreign policy staff.

So there is a gender divide is there? Well, some say so.  (wink)

I bet you it was all the women who were for the war and were jumping up and down, gnashing their teeth to get the operation started wasn’t it.  Oh wait, Palin and Bachmann are not in the White House are they.  My bad.

When I read the last sentence “Obama’s female foreign policy staff” I couldn’t help but having Bill Clinton with a huge smile pop into my head.  I’m sorry, sometimes I just cannot stop him from appearing.

Well, that is not entirely true.  The only time I do not think of Bill Clinton in this subject is when I see a picture or hear Hillary’s name mentioned.  Sorry about that, completely inappropriate but sometimes my mind has a mind of its own.

But, regarding the headline, what is the relevance of using a Valkyrie?  I am familiar with the classical piece and believe a Valkyrie to be a winged sort of monster but are they all female?  Quick Wikipedia check necessary.

Valkyrie – In Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja “chooser of the slain”) is one of a host of female figures who decide who will die in battle.

Okay, apparently they are all female.  I should have known this from my World of Warcraft playing days but did not know that they were all female.  So I guess it is relevant.

Since this was used, I’d like to share the actual piece with you (it is great!) as well as a way in which it was used that bothers me.

Yes very great piece.

I hate it when used this way however.  As you know I lived in Vietnam and love Vietnamese people.  This just hits too close to home for me as it is what really happened.  I was also disgusted when it won some sort of Hollywood award for best use of music in a movie.  Those monkeys in LA get all excited but have they ever thought about all the people, men, women, children who died?  Or do they just think it is a great way to use a classical piece for a movie?  It makes me very unhappy.

By the way, there movie is called “Apocalypse Now” in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) which is very popular with drunk foreign tourists.  They don’t play this song however.

5.  A War of Western Imperialism – Al Jazeera

Backing of Libyan rebels apparently aims to clean up West’s image across Arab world.

I pointed this out in the forum as well.  I still believe that this is the will of the majority of the Libyan people and is actually a positive thing for the US to do so long as they quickly get out after it is accomplished.  Nothing else to really mention here that I haven’t already.

Well, that is all I have to say.  Time to start work.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/


  1. I have to stop reading the headlines. On this one I quickly scanned the top just to get to the nonsense as the headline implied.

    Republicans blast Obama as "timid," "passive" on Libya http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20048267-5

    "We have upwards of ten countries in the tinderbox of the world, the Middle East, in various stages of revolt," he said. "For the leader of the free world, the United States of America, it is not appropriate to be sitting on the sidelines and just watching history unfold without exerting some leadership." – Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty

    Last I checked, the White House authorized military intervention of a sovereign nation. Not a small thing.

    The Republicans are really reaching here. Maybe Obama should put on a flight suit and make a statement from an aircraft carrier?

  2. $%$#^%$#^%$#!!!!!!! I just read another one. I am turning off my reader.

    1. Obama's war speech sounds like Bush – Chicago Tribune http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapma

    Again, didn't read the article but if I just connect the headlines… Ok,, Republicans say he is too timid, "others say" he sounds like Bush. Bush = Republican.

    I give up. I'm taking my ball and going home.

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