Friday, November 29, 2013

Today in hed creativity

I suppose we should all give thanks that "gobble up" didn't seem like a stroke of genius to more papers than (so far) Columbus, Charlotte, Cleveland and the NYPost.

Sing: Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Forbidden heds

Just in case you're tempted on Thursday -- don't. "Ready, set, shop" is on the Permanently Banned Under All Circumstances Amen list.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today in Photoshop

Sure, Matt. Whatever you say. The shadows under the chin are especially well done.

One suggestion? Try for Kissinger next time. The jowls could be awesome, and it'd be a lot more closely related to an article that's basically -- to the extent the Times gets it, I mean -- about Realpolitik.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Off message

Looks like some would-be presidential candidates didn't get the message about Iran:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that the agreement "makes a nuclear Iran more, not less, likely," and called the deal "a blow to our allies in the region who are already concerned about America's commitment to their security and it sends the wrong message to the Iranian people, who continue to suffer under the repressive rule of their leaders who have only their own self-preservation in mind."

Bad Marco Rubio, R-Fla.! Bad! That's not the accepted line on the Worst Regime in History! Can you help him out, Dr. Krauthammer?

Read more »

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Coincidence ... OR WHAT?

Is it coincidence that this story appeared directly above the tale about the upcoming Monty Python reunion at the Beeb on Thursday?

I think not.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Here comes one now

That pesky apostrophe! Never around when you need it -- at least, if your intent was to capture the meaning of the original hed:

 Pesky spelling, too.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I have here in my hand ...

OK, Monday's bogus story about the September 2012 household unemployment survey has landed at The Fox Nation, courtesy of the Washington Examiner. What, you have to wonder, is taking Planet Fox itself so long? Could somebody be balking at the idea that even the lone bits of evidence in the original reporter's story don't do what they're put forward as doing?

Let's return for just a second to today's update from the Post:

I can’t say if the faking of the jobs numbers was politically motivated or not — although most of the extra 100 monthly surveys submitted by Blackmon did contain info that people did get jobs.

That would have helped lower the unemployment rate.

Read more »

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Let's start a pool on how long this one takes its way to work its way through the corporate channels to the Fair 'n' Balanced homepage, shall we?

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

True-ish, to the extent you call "barking paranoid lunacy" a form of raised eyebrows.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.
Read more »

Sunday, November 17, 2013

One born every minute

Really? "Human need to know the future boosts popularity of psychics"? Tell us more, biggest surviving daily in the state!

Her grandmother read tea leaves in the kitchen. Her mother was an astrologer and medium.

Now, Your Name Here of Attica is carrying on the tradition.

“My guides and angels connect with others’ guides and angels,” explains Here, who has dark hair, a calm face and long, graceful fingers. “I contact people on the other side.”

Well, no. No, they don't, and no, she doesn't. (Contact "people on the other side," that is; she does have dark hair and a calm face.) The county fair is made for people who believe otherwise; didn't we go over this back at Halloween?
Read more »

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Magnificent ... wait, what?

This isn't really "do the math." It's barely even "do the arithmetic," since it more or less boils down to "take your shoes off and count, being sure to stop at the seventh little piggy."

Astute readers will note that by now, the image has been, erm, updated, as shown at right, though there's still a stray arm in there that looks like something from the Big Soviet Encyclopedia days. But the prose is still its magnificent self:

This week, we finally get to see six of these seven samurai clash -- in showdowns that have everything except Yul Brynner! -- and if we've already broken the three-reference-per-sentence barrier, you know this week is good, before we even get to the Dysfunctional Power Rankings and Flinch Bowl.

Thanks to the alert Philadelphia bureau for the catch -- and thank you, toy departments everywhere.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Shurely shomeone on the features desk at the Nation's Newspaper of Record has carried a bottle home from the store before:

An article last Wednesday about a couple in Yonkers who produce and sell mahia, a Moroccan eau de vie, under the brand name Nahmias et Fils misstated the size of the bottles. They are 750 milliliters, not 750 liters.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Coups, earthquakes and the holy family

It's International News Week in the political communication seminar, and that means it's time to talk about not just who gets covered but about what makes for "news" in the first place.

For most of the world, getting covered is pretty simple. Some decades ago, Mort Rosenblum called his book on the topic "Coups and Earthquakes," and that's not far off. The UK has a reliably fertile -- and white -- royal family; if you're an average country of 100 million or so like the Philippines, you basically need either terrorists or typhoons to be noticed.

Unless, of course, there's that certain something else -- your standard Roman coin dated 44BC, or some other token that draws the faithful together. Case in point, the fourth most important story of Monday evening at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network (the screen grab at right is from the home page; the more credulous hed at the top adorns the story itself):

A limestone box said to have once held the bones of the brother of Jesus was at the center of the most controversial forgery case in decades -- and it was allegedly vandalized by the Israeli government before being returned to its owner.
Read more »

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Today in clues

Wonder what the chief of the Culture War Bureau has for us today!

Little bit of background. The Watauga County schools have apparently told the American Legion that no, it can't hang its "In God We Trust" in classrooms. Let's go right to Todd and his interlocutor:

A spokesman for the school district told the Watauga Democrat newspaper that “In God We Trust” was banned on the advice of their legal counsel. They feared someone could see the poster and construe the district was promoting religion.

Cornejo said that’s just silly.

“How is that promoting religion?” he asked me. “It doesn’t say anything about Jesus. I could understand if it was a Bible verse – but it’s ‘In God We Trust.’”

Uh, OK.



They all look alike, anyway

Arr arr arr! Elite Fair 'n' Balanced international policy experts off the starboard port bow!

Pirates, beware — the U.S. Marine Corps could be coming to troubled waters near you.

And a gold doubloon to the first scurvy seadog who tells us which coast they be haunting! Arr!

As armed pirates continue to terrorize waters off Africa’s west coast at three times the rate than their Somali counterparts on the continent’s eastern coast, Marine officials are considering expanding its presence in and around the Gulf of Guinea to ward off piracy and other threats. Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine Corps spokesman, told the force would be an extension of a larger crisis-response team established earlier this year in Spain to handle emergencies in northern Africa.

Arr! Err! Barbecued billygoats! Ye mean there be no Somali pirates in yon frontpage yarn?

... with a Navy ship stationed in or near the Gulf of Guinea, Flanagan said Marines could quickly respond to situations in northwest Africa and beyond.

“It’s being considered,” Flanagan continued. “At the moment, some of these things are still in the works, but this a potential response that the Marine Corps can provide.”

But still: Pirates! Marines! Who cares which side of the continent, as long as the scuppers run red with blood?

Piracy, however, would not likely be the “top priority” for the new force ultimately put in place off Africa’s west coast, Flanagan said. Other potential missions could include embassy reinforcement or humanitarian assistance.

Arr well. Secure from general quarters. Once you've said "Marines!" and "scary brown people" in the same image, your shift at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network be done.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Libruls attack! Bible true! Film at 11!

O tidings of foamy-mouthed rage and joy! Sit back and let the Fair 'n' Balanced Network remind you that everything you already know is right.

First up, just as you thought, the libruls are coming for your moppets!

It's exactly what critics of the Common Core school curriculum warned about: Partisan political statements masquerading as English lessons finding their way into elementary school classrooms.

Teaching materials aligned with the controversial national educational standards ask fifth-graders to edit such sentences as “(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair,” “The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation” and “the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.” The sentences, which appear in worksheets published by New Jersey-based Pearson Education, are presented not only for their substance, but also to teach children how to streamline bulky writing.
Read more »

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The more biggerest loser

OK, just a couple of questions:

1) Which of these two Carnegie Research 1 universities plays in the same town in which the Freep is published?*
2) OK, and how many players from that university are mentioned in the Freep's game story today?

The answer is kind of "none," which does sort of raise the musical question: Are you guys covering basketball, or are you just waiting for a sports PR job in Ann Arbor? Because there's always room in sports PR for people who can get right to the most biggest question (especially if they can also tell "smooth" from "smoothly" and understand why Wolverines gets a "them" while U-M is an "it," but that's just copyediting).

I acknowledge it's a bit of a trend in the preseason: write about the famous teams, not the victims. But when the victims are, you know, sort of like the home team, do you suppose you could see your way clear to pretending a game had gone on?**

* Hint: It's the one with a gym I can see from my office.
** Or do we have to bring up Appalachian State again?

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Are you ready to be a copy editor?

Latest in a series: Collect them all!

When you see "quiet" and "loner" in the hed, do you know what's going to come next?

Former high school classmates of alleged Los Angeles airport shooter Paul Ciancia describe him as a quiet student who kept to himself, often turning down invitations to hang out with other people.

... "He kept to himself and ate lunch alone a lot."

Then you might be ready to be a copy editor.


Friday, November 01, 2013

Hark him yourself

Rest ye easy, friends and neighbors. We're not going to be chronicling the Global War on Xpesmas every day for the next two months or anything. But it wouldn't do to let this awesome bit of syntactic reconstruction by Fox's Culture Wars bureau pass by unnoticed:

The angels will not be allowed to hark their herald nor will the little Lord Jesus sleep on the hay after a New Jersey school district announced a ban on all religious Christmas music.
Lehrer, thou shouldst be gigging at this hour.

Constance Bauer, the superintendent of the Bordentown Regional School District, posted a message online stating someone had been questioning recent musical selections for the elementary school Christmas concerts.

Pardon me, the school district calls them “winter” concerts.

My guess is that a perpetually offended left-winger became unglued when they heard that little boys and girls might be pa rum pum pum pum.

I'm thinking there wants to be a participle in there somewhere, unless rum pum pum pum is a little closer to hem hem chiz chiz kaff than we think, in which case Fox can really get its holly-jolly in a twist. 

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