Freep doublespeak 

Last Wednesday, the Free Press ran a pair of articles dealing with anthrax, a malady once rarely heard of anyplace but old cowboy movies but on everyone’s mind now that multiple cases of exposure to its potentially deadly spores have been reported during recent weeks. The first Freep story, a self-described Q&A “primer” that began on the front page, appeared under the headline “Disease is an efficient killer, unlikely weapon.” On the inside jump page we read:

Q: How hard is it to develop anthrax as a weapon?

Although no authority was cited, the paper confidently responded:

Very, but some say it’s not impossible. Many experts believe someone would need strong financing and biotechnical and manufacturing knowledge to successfully convert anthrax into a weapon. Some challenges include making the spores small enough to get past nose hairs and into the lungs, and making the spore quantity large enough to infect as many people as possible.

A few inches away, on the same page in an article about the troubled Lansing facility that is the only producer of an anthrax vaccine in this country, readers found this information:

“The Pentagon says anthrax is dangerous because it is lethal; is one of the easiest biological agents to manufacture and is relatively easy to develop as a weapon, and can be easily spread in the air over a large area.”

So, uh, which is it? People are dying to know.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail [email protected]

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