We all make mistakes, of course we do, but increasingly we are being bombarded with news stories, political handouts and company PR releases that make absolutely no sense. I was feeling pretty outraged last night about the biased report that the ABC’s 7.30 did on the kerfuffle surrounding Adani Coal’s attempt to dig the world’s biggest hole in Queensland, and that got me thinking about the way in which attempts to obfuscate – or at best appear intelligent, educated and well-read – are leading to the stripping of any real meaning from the reporting of even the most serious events. This piece I wrote for the USA’s LiketheDew sprang to mind.
Writing in Kentucky News Review, Lu-Ann Farrar said that Peter Kraska, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University…now let’s just hold it there for a second while I try to work out where to start. To make things a bit clearer, I’ll italicise Lu-Ann’s words, at least the ones I think are hers.
Got that? Ms Farrar wrote that the professor told the Detroit Free Press that paramilitary troups [sic.] are being used more often in police situations. Now right there I’m puzzled. What’s a police situation, a job with the service? And do paramilitary services have entertainment units, even misspelled ones? She goes on: A Detroit imam, Luqman Ameen Abdullah, was arrested and shot by an elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team. Arrested and shot? In that order? By a rescue team? She went on: Abdullah is the first time a religious leader has been killed by government forces since…Abdullah is the first time? Wouldn’t “Abdullah’s is the first death of a religious leader at the hands of…” have been a little less confusing?
Then Ms Farrar quotes the professor: “We’ve seen…real serious problems with various SWAT tragedies…Real problems arise when it’s misapplied to the wrong circumstances.”
Doesn’t writing an article about something this serious warrant a little care?
I had intended to hand my virtual “Newnglish” award to a writer whose copy I edit, for the descriptive gem “the most rainy day of the year”, but she was well and truly outclassed.