Blazoned across the spiffy new tiled format of The Guardian‘s website were the words, “Amelia Earhart aeroplane fragment identified.” I know these words, and I know that in their particular order they necessarily imply A) there is a piece of an airplane, and B) it has been identified as belonging to Amelia Earhart’s erstwhile Lockheed Electra.
Actually reading the damned article reveals a rather different story:
Researchers investigating the 1937 disappearance of American aviator Amelia Earhart’s plane believe a slab of aluminium found decades ago on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean came from her aircraft.
Wait a minute. They believe this metal came from Amelia Earhart’s aircraft? Didn’t you just tell us it had been identified? Do you not understand the difference in meaning between these words?
It goes on:
The piece, which measures about 61 x 46cm, did not appear to be a standard part of a Lockheed Electra, but Tighar researchers recently began to look into the possibility it might have been installed on the plane as a patch after a window was removed, he said.
Not only has this piece of metal not been identified as having belonged to Amelia Earhart, it hasn’t even been identified as belonging to any of the 149 Model 10 Electra airplanes produced by the Lockheed corporation!
Here, let’s do The Guardian a favor and craft for them an honest headline, accurately and succinctly describing the story as they tell it: “A Couple of Jackasses Find Junk In the Woods.”