Not really qualifying as journalese — which by is the language of newspapers, and not everyday spoken English — but “seems” has been approved by the media for use in straight news reporting. Back in the old days, a copy editor would give a reporter a dope slap and demand: “Is it a fact or does it seem like a fact?” Today, every reporter is a commentator, offering his or her own visions, interpretations, imaginations, dreams or opinions. Here’s a typical example, from a Washington Post story, Dec 24, 2016, about Trump’s tweeting praise for Putin’s attack on Clinton: “In a striking statement that seems to further align Trump with Putin, the incoming US president tweeted ….” Well, does it align Trump with Putin?

A quick search through the Boston Globe archives gets 141,000 hits for seems. It seems to me that owners of newspapers have no idea of the value of copy editors and have fired all of them. After all, a Xerox machine can copy as much as a live editor. Or any unpaid intern can use Ctrl C.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *