Monthly Archives: February 2017


Exactly what are “documents?” First thing one thinks of when seeing that word is “undocumented,” a condition of someone without a visa or a Green Card. Or a birth certificate showing he or she was born in the U.S.A. However, usage of “documents” has become so broad, it has reached bizarre levels. Take this story in the New York Times, Feb. 26, 2017, about agents who are “newly emboldened, newly… Read Article →

Seeming to imply…

I have often pointed out that editors today allow reporters’ opinion, speculation, or guess-work to be published as news. In a long essay in, Feb. 22, 2017, Lee Smith, a senior editor at the Weekly Standard and fellow at the Hudson Institute, agrees. The essay is sub-titled: “How did we get from the ‘Village Voice’ reporters digging up everything there is t know about a flashy New York real… Read Article →

Thanks to…

Although one dictionary definition of “thanks to” is “On account of; because of,” the expression can make for some strange reading, such as, “The town was under water, thanks to huge rainfall…” Or, “Crops were destroyed and farmers went bankrupt, thanks to Biblical-sized swarms of locusts.” The Boston Globe, Feb 21, 2017, provided a great interpretation choice for “thanks to…” in a p. 1, top story headlined: “Condo prices hit… Read Article →

Left-leaning, right-leaning.

A rule of journalese is for a reporter or editor to never label an organization, researcher or think tank that he or she admires. Thus, Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or the ACLU are never identified as “far-left” or “ultra liberal” or “rightist” or “conservative.” What the admired organizations hand out is published without question. The UN’s Human Rights Council is never identified as a UN joke, controlled by… Read Article →

Tout, used as it should be used

At last, a reporter uses a journalese favorite, tout, the way it originally was used and how the American Heritage dictionary defines it: “To solicit customers, votes, or patronage, especially in a brazen way.” A story in the Boston Globe, Feb 16, 2017, by STAT (a science news service affiliated with the Globe), about Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, is headlined “He vowed to cure cancer — But this billionaire’s moonshot is… Read Article →

Wind power: the reliable con

The only thing reliable about wind power is its ability to con reporters. Information supplied by wind power developers, their flacks and faithful, is rarely questioned by the media. Facts and details about wind power are ignored. Here’s an example, from the Cape Cod Times, Jan. 19, 2017, about Cape Wind’s $88,000 annual lease payment to the federal government. The developer hopes to keep his 15-year offshore turbine project alive,… Read Article →

What’s anonymous opinion worth?

An old rule of journalism used to be that anonymous opinion is worth the names of those who offer the opinion. Nothing. But that old rule no longer applies, at least to some papers. For example, take the Boston Globe, Opinion page, Feb 11, 2017, “Readers’ Forum,” which published: “The following is an edited sample of comments posted on in response to Adrian Walker’s Friday Metro column, ‘True Patriots,’… Read Article →

More on progressive

I’ve taken this up before, but found a couple examples in two stories on the same Business section page of the Feb.11, 2017, edition of the Boston Globe. Who and what is progressive? Communists use progressive to describe themselves and fellow travelers. Leftists use the word to describe themselves and liberals. Reporters and editors use the word to describe… yeah, who? Can conservatives or Republicans be progressive? OK, we go… Read Article →

Thanks for two-daily town

Thank the media gods that Boston is a two-daily town. The Boston Herald reported that one million New England Patriots fans lined the Super Bowl victory Duck Boat parade on Tuesday (Jan.7, 2017). The Boston Globe reported there were tens of thousands, which was physically more accurate, even if tens of thousands could mean anything upwards from 20,000. Usually, both papers report one million at big-time public celebrations, as the… Read Article →

A bitter headline

The Boston Globe committed the basic error of journalism yesterday (Feb. 6, 2017) by publishing a banner headline before a game ended. The headline, “A BITTER END,” was over a story based on the New England Patriots trailing the Atlanta Falcons by 25 points at half-time. The early editions were distributed in Florida. As just about every American knows, the Patriots made a fantastic come-back to win the game, and… Read Article →