Friday, June 3, 2016

News, Opinion, and the Faded Line

 The Washington Post
I subscribe to The Washington Post online edition.  They keep my inbox filled with the latest news and opinions; or as one might accurately say, opinions and opinions.  But I digress.

This direct from the evening edition, June 2, 2016:

The petty things that people shot each over last month
Average Americans routinely shoot each other over minor annoyances, data show.

One has to wonder how many things an "elite" news source can get wrong in two lines.  The elision of the word "other" in the bold-type headline we can chalk up to typo, i.e., careless error.  But look at the sub-line as an illustration of my "opinion or opinion" shot above.  Ostensibly (just from this slug line) the news is that someone compiled data on shootings in America which found that some (many?) shootings are over "minor annoyances." The clear thrust of the line is that it is the opinion of the writer and, by extension, the publisher that "Average Americans routinely shoot each other."  Parsing that a bit further, it is the opinion of the WaPo that Average Americans are the perpetrators of shootings in our country, but more they engage in such crimes on a routine basis.  Am I the only person who sees anything wrong with this?  Journalists are often the target of politicians.  As the supposed guardians of truth, the vaunted "Fourth Estate" that will serve to keep us informed and free, it is natural that politicians and journalists will come into conflict.  But I fear that in the moral climate of the day it is a toss-up as to which group deserves our respect.  Full disclosure:  Upon the completion of this diatribe I read the article itself.  It was headed by a full-color photograph of a handgun and several hollow-point bullets lying on a table.  The story itself was pretty much what I expected.  Clicking on the bold line above will take you there.


Vee said...

Much of what is passed off as news is opinion, and many writers for print sources lack basic writing skills. The now defunct Olathe News was once a daily source errors and misstatements. The editors of this paper seemed aware that their subscribers were people who actually cared about such things.

Non-subscribers got 411 4rm da inet.

vanilla said...

Vee, doomed are they who without questioning, take their "news" for fact.

Secondary Roads said...

Compare how many use the Comedy Channel for their news source. True!

A couple of years ago, I gave up on broadcast news. I find little of interest in newspapers. I will check headlines on a news aggregator just to see what publishers think is important .. oops .. of interest these days.

Ilene said...

I like the idea of using the Comedy Channel for my news source. At least I'd get a good laugh with my daily dose of news.

vanilla said...

Chuck, perhaps I should switch over to CC. My sister, Ilene seems to like the idea!

Ilene, something to consider.