When I observed that a Yahoo! News item on the Apollo 11 anniversary described the original event as "infamous," I received a comment that I may have been making too much of "an incorrect word choice by a low-paid headline writer." However, now that Barack Obama's comments on the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. have returned the "race question" to the front burner, I seem to have become sensitized to other instances of discrimination. Sadly, my feelers had to reach no further than the BBC NEWS Web site, where I encountered a story introduced with the following summary:
Two mayors, rabbis and politicians are among some 30 people arrested in a major corruption and money-laundering investigation, say US authorities.
This sentence, taken on its own, is not necessarily discriminatory or surprising. Consider, however, the headline under which this story appeared:
US rabbis arrested in crime probe
Even the addition of the word "politicians" could have blunted (if not dismissed) the anti-Semitic tone of the headline. So is this just the work of a low-paid employee bored with his/her work; or is it some kind of Zeitgeist indicator?