Thursday, September 10, 2009

Category error

Take it away, McClatchy Washburo:

Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, stole the spotlight Wednesday by yelling “You lie!” during President Obama's address to Congress.

No, he didn't, and this really suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what "news" is and how it works. The lede assumes that actors determine where the spotlight goes and that news just follows objectively along. Rep. Wilson can't steal the spotlight unless someone hands it to him. McClatchy isn't the sole offender, but it's unusually brazen about aiding and abetting.

If you think the spotlight ought to be somewhere else, aim it there. But don't blame somebody else when you're sitting there with your hands on the controls.



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