November 08, 2003

Reuters frenotomy story: Not ignorance but anti-Americanism?

A few days ago, I discussed a weird Reuters story about Korean parents allegedly pushing inappropriate surgery on their children in order to help them learn English. The strangest part was an interview with a psychiatrist who was quoted to the effect that teaching children foreign languages too early could cause speech impediments and autism.

At the time, I attributed this very odd story to lack of linguistic education and common sense on the part of the Reuters reporter and editor responsible. But that's naive. On reflection, it seems to me that there's a much more obvious explanation: anti-Americanism and anti-globalization. These biases may have created a story where there isn't (much of) one, really, but more certainly they have led Reuters to spin the story in a way that is, in a word, nuts.

Read the whole thing, especially the update at the bottom.

Posted by Mark Liberman at November 8, 2003 09:53 AM