Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Actually, no. Not at all.

Here's a health care tale from the front of Ohio's Greatest Home Newspaper:

Opponents said they are concerned about increasing the federal deficit and expanding the role of government. Some likened the bill to a socialist-style takeover.

"This is how Germany took over Austria. It scares me to death," said Marc Studley, 45, of Upper Arlington.

No, it isn't. It's not at all how Germany took over Austria. It's got as much to do with the German takeover of Austria as it does with how and whether the spearmint loses its flavor on the bedpost overnight. How long is it going to take before reporters figure out* that the obligation to listen to loonies does not entail an obligation to present their loony utterances as unvarnished debating points?

As a general principle of newspage editing, the best thing you can do with a history analogy is to shoot it on sight (in the present case, the least we could do is ask who's Austria and who's Germany in our little shadow play). Here's a remarkably dumb one from a review last week of "The Pacific":

Although the miniseries focuses on a conflict waged more than a half-century ago, it carries a chilling, modern-day resonance. The Japanese, after all, were similar to al-Qaida in the way they eschewed conventional warfare and fought with a fanatical, self-sacrificial fervor that, at times, resorted to suicide bombings.

Is there some reason professional journalists run this stuff, rather than laughing gently to themselves as they hit the "delete" key?

* Editors, that's your hint.


Blogger John Cowan said...

If the journalists or the editors removed this trash, what would be left to fill up the paper? More ads.

12:36 PM, March 17, 2010  
Blogger Strayhorn said...

Yes, the Japanese were entirely unconventional in building a modern navy and air force, plus an army capable of over-the horizon force projection. And their insistence on green power helped them to avoid diplomatic problems on things like embargoes on petroleum and strategic metals.

I imagine Osama/Usama is sitting in his cave right now, trying to decide between building a small force of expensive multi-role fighters or a larger force of smaller, yet cheaper, single-purpose aircraft. Not to mention the thorny question of building the tanker fleet off-shore.

12:44 PM, March 17, 2010  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

In fact, a nice sidebar on the German takeover of Austria might be a useful addition to any story that does feature this quote.

Al Qaeda and the Japanese Empire are pretty much polar opposites, one shared tactic notwithstanding.

2:30 PM, March 17, 2010  
Anonymous Q. Pheevr said...

This one crosses the line between merely quoting someone saying something egregiously stupid and actually participating in the stupidity oneself. "Some likened the bill to a socialist-style takeover" is a completely idiotic way of describing this particular exemplar of Godwin's Law. The Dispatch appears to be actively promoting the wingnuts' socialism=fascism equation.

10:52 PM, March 17, 2010  

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