Less than met the eye on a story about Yemen

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Friday, February 25, 2011; 7:17 PM

The Feb. 20 front-page story on Yemen ["U.S. fears unrest in Yemen could strengthen al-Qaeda"] did nothing to advance The Post's journalistic integrity.

The headline made it seem as if our government was expressing worries. It wasn't until far into the continuation on Page A14 that those expressions were attributed to just three individuals, identified as a White House staffer; the national intelligence director, who testified before Congress on Feb. 17 - hardly news three days later - and a third speaking (where and when?) "on the condition of anonymity."

The piece's 30th and last paragraph concluded with a bit of speculation "last week" by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). It didn't even report what day that was. It otherwise contained a handful of alleged statements by unnamed officials and a "Western diplomat." Is he ours?

The front page ought to convey real news, and its headlines should not suggest a possibly false assertion about a policy of the U.S. government.

William Kloepfer Jr., Washington


© 2011 The Washington Post Company

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