Monthly Archives: May 2017

A fleet of wind power bull.

Add the word “fleet” to the list of corporate BS being adopted by reporters to mean a bunch of anything. It was misleading enough when wind power hustlers started calling their industrial wind projects “wind farms”. Can’t you see the green fields, cows grazing, crops ripening, hay stacks, chickens, all happy on ol’ McDonald’s farm with a cute windmill far in the background? Well now you have a “fleet” of… Read Article →

A moderate butcher

A “moderate” is the usual description of a smooth-talking butcher, tyrant or murderer whom the reporter and his or her editors admire. Take Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for example. I put “Rouhani” and “moderate’ in a Google search and got 540,000 hits. Most recent references were from “respected” media reporters and columnists, as they gushed over “moderate” Rhounani’s re-election as president. Even Fox News called him a moderate. But there… Read Article →

Taking the helm.

A Law of Journalese requires that an appointment of a new boss must be noted as “taking the helm” even if he or she doesn’t know a helm from a keel. Well, Jim Hackett, the new CEO of Ford, according to CNN, “has a track record that includes self-driving cars, office furniture — and hiring a college football coach.” Nothing there about seamanship, but the headline of an AP story,… Read Article →

Probe proliferation.

Probe to mean investigation is classic journalese, using words or expressions rarely spoken in everyday conversation. Have you ever heard a conversation like this? “Hey, Mary, did you hear they’re probing the mayor?” “No, what are they using? A fork?” In our dictionary, we give an example from the Boston Herald of Dec. 9, 2010: “Police probe Burlington man found stabbed.” We offer our sympathies: “As if the poor guy… Read Article →

Reporters as mind readers

Reporters these days can get away with just about any generalization, speculation, opinion, slant, guess or personal viewpoint. An illustration was in a New York Times story, May 22, 2017, about Trump’s speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: “Addressing more than 50 leaders from across the Muslim world…” And a few graphs later, “….in a cavernous hall filled with heads of state eager to find favor with the new president.” Now… Read Article →

Gearing up.

“Gearing up” is classic journalese. Our dictionary definition: “To get something going. Gearing down would mean getting more muscle, if it were a car, which is where the expression probably originated, but reporters who have never driven a stick-shift car use ‘gearing down’ to mean slowing down.” A Boston Globe story, May 20, 2017, about a memorial finally being dedicated to the 100 people who died in the Rhode Island… Read Article →

Euphemism of the day

One might think that Boston got over its old Blue Laws which banned most everything naughty or fun — printed, acted or spoken. After all, the most memorable response to the Boston Marathon bombing was Red Sox hitter David Ortiz’s famous warning to terrorists, in a live TV Fenway Park speech, “This is our fuckin’ city!” Well, Channel 5, WCVB News, doesn’t think its audience is grown-up enough to hear… Read Article →

Linked? And how!

Talking of a journalese favorite, “linked to…”, here’s a beauty. Page 1, top story, of The Boston Globe, May 16, 2017: “Trump linked to classified release.” OK, that was published before Trump boasted that he was the very link, the guy who passed on the secret information about terrorists to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to Washington. File under: The Link in Chief in action. # #… Read Article →

Fuzzy fruit, pitiful groaner

Here’s another one for the Law of Curved Yellow Fruit (a.k.a. banana), which prohibits use of the same noun in one sentence: Headline in The Berkshire Eagle, May 15, 2017: “Fans of fuzzy fruit, rejoice — Northeast is in for a peachy summer.” The lede is a juicy groaner: “BOSTON — A year after the peach crop in the northeastern United States hit the pits, growers and agricultural experts are… Read Article →

Everyone reeling?

Our dictionary definition of “Reeling”: “Any neighborhood, group, town, family or political party hit with a disaster or tragedy or scandal.” We should have included the Capital of the United States. Here’s the page 1, top story headline of the Boston Sunday Globe, May 14, 2017: “16 weeks in, and everyone is reeling in Washington.” Everyone? The entire city? The kid flipping burgers at McDonald’s? The city gardner cutting the… Read Article →