Beware of a tout

Our definition of tout begins: “A favorite verb when a group or promoter is pushing something that an editor doesn’t 100 percent respect.” We quote Mike Feinsilber of the Associated Press: “It is a nice short lead word…but to some (read that: me) it has a tawdry, racetrack, carnivalish tone….” What brings this up is a recent Boston Globe story headlined: “City touts affordable housing bump.” The story is about “a city program requiring developers to include low-cost apartments in or near their buildings.” And here’s where the tout is right on.

The story reports that “Mayor Martin Walsh’s administration is touting” the program in a report on “Boston’s Inclusionary Development.” Touting all right. In the past 15 years, developers built 1,737 affordable apartments and condos, out of a total of about 27,000 built. The story points out, in case any reader wonders, “It’s a relatively small slice…”

Like a racetrack tout explaining the horse he touted as a sure winner showed “a relatively good performance” when it came in second to last. Yeah, relative to the last place nag.

File under: Never bet on a tout’s tip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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