Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fun with participles (and Stupid Questions)

General Motors Corp. will recall more than 30,000 Corvettes after customers complained that the roof flew off while driving the $45,000 sports car.

No doubt because some careless drivers misbuckled their participles. "While driving," alas, is pretty firmly attached to the subject of the complement, to wit "the roof."
(Funny, it takes eight grafs before the story mentions a recall that affects 10 times as many cars -- lowly Volkswagens, of course, but motor vehicles nonetheless. One can only hope the originating desk was distracted by the roar of engines on Tryon Street, not the top hats of the robber barons in charge of the business section.)

IT'S A BOY! Born on Friday, what did Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale name their first child?
If we're going to fill the paper with swill about "Survivor," Hilary Swank, "American Idol" and this happy couple, let's try to have modifiers go with subjects, OK?

On a rather more serious topic, though one apparently less amenable to correction:

Mass murder by Marines?
Photographs point to execution-style killings of up to 24 Iraqi civilians
WASHINGTON - Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed up to 24 Iraqi civilians, some of them "execution style," in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha after a roadside bomb killed one American last November, officials close to the investigation said Friday.

Look. You guys are the ones running the story, presumably on the assumption that the reporting is true. If you're going to run an accusation, run the damned accusation. Don't pretend it's a question. If there isn't room for attribution, make room for attribution.

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