Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A terrible beauty is born

You have to hand it to the wordsmiths at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network. When they repurpose a word, they really, really mean it.

The view at top right was on offer when I got up today; somebody didn't get the word that heds of the form "Let the N begin" are on the forbidden list, but otherwise it appears to be shutdown business as usual.

The change in attitude appears to have come in this story, which showed up (I think*) sometime around noon:

What the Obama administration is portraying as a "shutdown" of the federal government -- complete with signs posted at the entrances to government buildings, parks and monuments -- is turning out to be more of a "slimdown," as all but non-essential workers reported to their jobs Tuesday.

And "slimdown" it became at the core of the Fox empire. Earlier staff-written stories from Tuesday still reflect the forbidden "shutdown":

NASA is among those federal government agencies that will experience a near total closure Tuesday as the threatened government shutdown became reality Oct. 1. But a government shutdown should not endanger American astronauts currently in space.

Congress blew by a midnight deadline to pass a crucial spending bill, triggering the beginning of a partial government shutdown – the first in 17 years.

The following is a round-up of reaction from lawmakers and others on Congress missing the midnight deadline to avert a government shutdown:

But otherwise the slimming-down appears pretty complete -- to the extent that it had shown up in a sidebar hed by early afternoon (that's the smaller one at right, now accompanied by a full-on Todd Starnes Culture War piece).

Even in the bizarre world of style mandates, this one stands out -- Fox had been quite happily shrieking about the danger of the looming SlimFast under its liberal name for much of the past week (when it wasn't trying to pin down the spelling of Rouhani it would use), and course changes of that sort don't tend to happen in the middle of the shift. It'll be interesting to see how long this one lasts.

Style decisions are often more ideological than people like to admit. It's much more comfortable to say "we've chosen the precise meaning" than "we've chosen a term that we think reflects our values." And style decisions are, or ought to be, sovereign; your shop is your business, and mine is mine. But it might be appropriate to suggest that our Fair 'n' Balanced friends have slam run out of room to complain about any AP style decisions for the rest of eternity Amen.

* I was doing something else -- grading, actually -- and didn't get a screen grab before it was replaced as the lede. If I recall correctly, the hed was something like what's currently appearing among the refers (caps theirs, not mine):

A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN? Not really — turns out it's more of a SLIMDOWN

The current hed is "Congressional stalemate rings in government slimdown," but the html suggests its earlier life: foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/01/partial-shutdown-begins-can-congress-white-house-compromise/



Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

Sure, a slimdown. 'Cause that sounds cute and maybe even healthy.

Just filed for unemployment, myself.

12:35 PM, October 02, 2013  
Blogger fev said...

You'd think learning Russian would go on the list of essential functions, now that Hussein has sold our birthright to that Putin fella.

I hope it's a very short stay on unemployment, Ridge.

5:08 PM, October 03, 2013  

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