Sunday, October 05, 2008

Propter hoc, ergo ... dude, wait

Interestingly Bungled Interpretation of the Political Process of the rapidly waning election season:

Voters headed to the polls Saturday in Louisiana to decide whether a corruption scandal has done irreparable harm to the reputation of indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson.

Well, not really. Actually, not at all. What the voters were doing was preparing to "vote" in a "primary." They get to choose among "candidates" -- not vote yes or no on whether Rep. Jefferson has or hasn't damaged anything beyond his freezer. There's a fairly good chance that any decisions about whether the scandal has done "irreparable harm" were made well before Saturday. And there's a not-unreasonable chance that some people who have voted yes on the harm-to-reputation issue are also going to vote for Rep. Jefferson -- incumbency sometimes having that effect, and all.

This lede looks to have been rewritten at the desk (it doesn't show up anywhere else, but the fourth graf of the Freep brief is pretty much the one AP sent in a feature on Friday). Kinda wish they'd left things the way they were in the Saturday lede: A 28-year political career was on the line Saturday for indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, who is fighting bribery charges as he tries to fend off six Democrats in the primary for his New Orleans-based congressional seat.

It's not Shakespeare, but nothing in it appears to be out-and-out clueless. Unlike the improved version.

How to follow an act like that? How about ... another national brief!

Gov. Sarah Palin's husband is planning to to speak to an investigator looking into abuse-of-power allegations against the governor, Todd Palin's lawyer said Saturday.

That one does appear to be straight off the AP. It's kind of fun, I think, because two people are named (Sarah Palin and Todd Palin), but neither one is the person the corresponding noun phrase is about. How'd we get to be the profession that prizes clarity, anyway?

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