Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Dear Free Press Washington Staff: The outfit you refer to here* is known as the "Democratic Party." Not the "Democrat Party." Please make a note of it. Please refer to the note often when you're, oh, writing 1A stories about poll results.

There was a fairly good amount of writing about this amusing-slash-annoying semantic trick back in the Bush days (Bush himself went so far as to use it as an out-and-out adjective: "a democrat Israel"). It remains a favorite of Rush Limbaugh and the other denizens of the AM dial. Writers who want, or expect, to be taken seriously don't indulge in it. And editors don't let friends write stupid.

The assertion about what's causing the independent candidate to "eat away" at the leader's support-- specifically, that it has some "apparent help" from the Dems' flyer -- is a different matter. It's simply made up. It's fictional. The mailing isn't even mentioned again until the 15th graf of the 5A story that this one points to, and there's nothing there to support the claim that it's made some difference.**

Which is worse: running made-up assertions about the data, or being a tool of the Limbaughs of the world? You make the call!

* Alert readers will note that it's corrected in the online version.
** Which is actually a good thing! You can believe in Santa, and you can believe in measurably huge effects from a single flier. At least with Santa you have two more months of bliss before the annoying truth sets in.



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