Monthly Archives: July 2017

Relatively moderate.

Journalese of the Day: A Law of Journalese requires political leaders to be labelled according to the opinion of the reporter and editor. A striking example was in a Washington Post story, July 17, 2017, about Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s brother’s being arrested for “unspecified financial crimes.” The story reported: “Sunday’s developments came less than two months after the relatively moderate Rouhani beat a hard-line opponent to win reelection, running… Read Article →

Miss a story? Never!

A basic Law of Journalism — not journalese — is to never admit you totally screwed up. Getting a fact wrong, well, that’s not too bad. But missing a great story, that never happens. Especially when you can blame someone else. The Boston Globe ran a story the other day of how some high school students discovered the Boston Garden developer never fulfilled a 1993 agreement with the city to… Read Article →

Team of hacks, stooges, bums, or what?

A Law of Journalese, adopted from the corporate world of BS, requires that any group be called a team when it’s run by politicians, business executives, community activists or anyone else not in jail. There’s a team even if the guy heading the team is a bum, scoundrel, liar, phony or a total jerk, and the team is made up of stooges just like the boss. An example is that… Read Article →

Size Comparison Law broken.

There’s a basic Law of Journalese that requires all large areas of wildfires, floods, or other catastrophes to be compared to the area of the state of Rhode Island. This law was flagrantly broken on July 13, 2017, in a story about the world’s largest iceberg created when a chunk of the Antarctica broke loose. Boston’s WBZ radio news, and most likely other media, reported the iceberg as “larger than… Read Article →

Dangle this!

There is no requirement that American reporters and editors pass a 9th grade English composition test. I was reminded of this when I read the following in a July 9, 2017, Boston Globe story about a man arrested for a road rage assault: “Travis Elsaadi was charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon for allegedly striking a man driving a scooter with a metal baseball bat.” Back in… Read Article →


“Misidentified” is the editorially correct word to use when a journalist has totally screwed up. In published corrections, it is best used without mentioning what the original goof was. An example was in the “For the record” notes of The Boston Globe, July 7, 2017: “Correction: Because of an editing error, a photo caption in Thursday’s obituary pages misidentified Simone Veil. Mrs. Veil was one of France’s most revered politicians…. Read Article →

Reporters as speculators.

Speculation in news stories is nothing new. Reporters and editors justify it by providing the source of the speculation, usually anonymous “observers,” “specialists,” “experts,” or “reliable sources.” Most likely, if there are such sources, he or she is a fixture at a saloon near city hall. A front page, top story in The Boston Globe, July 5, 2017, about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, provides an example of speculation purely by… Read Article →

Back to original Law of Crowd Estimating.

The amazing story in yesterday’s Boston Globe that said “thousands” attended the annual Boston Pops July 4 concert and fireworks was short-lived. A story today, July 6, follows the original Law of Crowd Estimating, reporting that a Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) spokesperson says the show “drew roughly 4000,000 visitors to the Esplanade.” The story adds the reporter’s comment, as a fact: “That’s on the smaller side for the event, which… Read Article →

Law of Crowd Estimating broken!

Amazing! The Journalese Law of Crowd Estimating has been broken. As we have often noted, the Crowd Estimating Law requires reporters and editors to accept without question the number of people in an audience or crowd that is given by the event’s promoters, supporters, flacks or police. Even if the number is a physical impossibility, it’s published as a fact. An annual example was the Boston media’s reporting that one… Read Article →