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Putin criticizes U.S.

Russian president Vladimir Putin made a thirty minute speech at the U.N. on Sat. Feb. 10, criticizing U.S. foreign policy and its seeming unilateral over world politics and policies. He says that the world is a more dangerous place now than it was at any time during the Cold War. He has a problem with the expansion of NATO into the Baltics, and the increased U.S. presence around the world.

Putin says that the world is now unipolar, from the New York Times:

“One single center of power. One single center of force. One single center of decision making. This is the world of one master, one sovereign.?

The New York Times and the Washington Post carried this story. The St. Paul Pioneer Press picked up the New Yorks Times' version. The Star Tribune picked up the Las Angeles Times version.

The challenge with this story is there is a lot of talking--the story is about a speech. No specific actions were taken. The key for this type of story is balance the words of the speech with reaction from as many sides as possible.

The New York Times' reporters Thom Shanker and Mark Landler included a lot of paraphrasing of the speech itself, and some direct quotes. They also gathered reactions from Senator John McCain, a White House spokesman, two other senators, and by statements such as:


With the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the American defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, and a Congressional delegation sitting stone-faced, Mr. Putin warned that the power amassed by any nation that assumes this ultimate global role “destroys it from within.

The Washington Post's Thomas E. Ricks and Craig Whitlock also had many direct quotations, but not the same ones as the New York Times--showing that one person's opinion of a good quote is not the same as another's. They included reactions from the White House, NATO Secretary General, and two senators. They, too, commented on the reactions of the delegation during the speech:

During Putin's 32-minute address, several members of the U.S. delegation frowned or looked away. Gates, a professional Sovietologist, stared down at notes he was writing. Asked for comment afterward, Gates smiled and shook his head.

Both papers did a nice job of letting Putin's words speak for themselves, without inserting commentary of their own. I think they effectively got across how the U.S. delegation reacted with their key word choices in those quotations I mentioned. This shows the use of quotations and also how the U.S. press can deal with criticism of the U.S.