Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dawn of the Stupid Question

Once more with feeling: No question heds on stories that make assertions. Ever. Under any circumstances. Sunday's fronts produce two distinct and distinctly awful examples.

First to Wichita, and there's a simple prescription for this: We don't do supernatural. We do mundane. People can say what they wish, and the Vatican can investigate what it wants, and it's fine to report all those things, but we don't do it by raising questions that are not answerable by earthly tools. (Yes, in a happier world, journalism would be a little slower to deify the medical profession, but we don't have to get there by belittling their work.) We don't do miracles and the pope doesn't slot 1A Mideast stories; sounds like a deal to me.

On to Detroit and a different flavor of Stupid Question: the question mark as attribution. Pause for a moment and think of how many ways this 1A lead story could be answered:
1) No, cops groped 11 men in Toledo!
2) No, cops groped 9 men in Detroit!
3) No, cops groped 97 men in Detroit!
4) No, cops didn't grope any men!

There's a fairly aggressive bit of reporting here (one of the few things left that the Freep still does beyond entry-level standards), and it deserves a grownup headline.

Please join the fight. Help stamp out the Stupid Question.


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I'd like to know how the priest is doing... "The Kapaun prayer had become a standard for parishioners in Colwich since a priest from the parish had come down with cancer several months before."

2:48 PM, June 22, 2009  

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