|Extra! Extra! Read all about how stupid we're becoming!|
|Not all that long ago, you could count on the newspaper to at least get the spelling and the grammar right, even if the story was a pile of B.S. While I am no expert on grammar, I think I could do better than what I'm seeing in the papers these days.
I'll start with my little local "community" newspaper that comes once a week. Although I never subscribed to it or paid for it, I've been getting it for years. It is not supposed to be free, so just this fact alone gives some indication of how the joint operates. I enjoy reading it mainly for the misspellings, and "lost" stories that say they continue on another page, but don't. They'll even have a headline on the front page reading something like "POLICE CHASE SUSPECT THROUGH", and whatever they chased the suspect through is up to you to figure out. I'd guess that in the process of increasing the font size for the headline, it went unnoticed that the headline no longer fits in the allotted space. Apparently they never heard of a proof-reader either. One time a few years back, they must have been using some "kewl" new speech recognition software that puts spoken words into print. I'm sure that it was high-tech, and probably even said right on the package that it really, really works. But in the thousand-or-so-word news story they used it on, only a few of the words made sense. That's not too good for computer stuff, seeing that most of it seems to work right about half the time!
Next in line is a mid-sized newspaper I used to get, called the Brown County News-Chronicle. It was actually a pretty good little paper, but the big-dog competitor in town didn't like them. So the big-dog made life very miserable for them, and when they finally had the little guy standing on only one leg, they bought it out and shut it down.
Up until 2005 or so, the big-dog got every word right everytime. But lately, as I would expect as this country "dumbs down", the big-dog is starting to slip. Lots of typos, missing words, and an occasional "lost" story. The classifieds are run by some other company, and are starting to look like a 3rd grader's notebook, like "Green Sofa 50, Lawnmower 75." I guess those dollar signs don't really mean anything nowadays anyway. Did I say 3rd grader? That sounds about right for a 30 year-old today.
In June of 2007, I sent a letter to the editor of the big-dog, saying that if they're wondering about the quality of education in this area, they need not look any further than the front page of their paper! I pointed out the word "vein" being used to describe what really is a "vane", and the word "bail" being used to describe what was really a "bale" of hay. I also pointed out a story where the police had prepared a diagram of a crime scene, indicating where "red fluid" was on the pavement after a shooting. I 'm willing to bet that the red fluid was actually something called "blood". They didn't print my letter!
One last thing that bugs me is when the editors replace words in a quotation with their own, in parenthesis, and take out the original words.
An example would be: "I was right across the street when it blew" gets changed to "I was right across the street when (the gas tank) blew". If they really want to clarify it, it should be: "I was right across the street when it (the gas tank) blew". That way the sentence still makes sense after I filter out the editor's comments. Got that now?
Here's a few more examples of stupidity that I see or read about in the news.
Years ago, there was a big auto crash on a relatively new bridge, the "Tower Drive Bridge", near my hometown. On the TV news, a witness was "worried that the bridge was going to catch fire" from the accident. Yeah, that concrete and steel really burns fast, watch out!
More recently there was a police call listing in the paper, that someone called 911 to report that their delivered pizza was burned. The officer responding to the call told the person that he agreed that it was burned, but instructed the person to call the pizza joint, rather than 911. I wonder how the cop kept a straight face! I hope he took their name and can prevent someone this stupid from voting!
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