Sunday, March 18, 2018

We're no angels

Spare a kind thought for our little friends in the party press. When their president speaks, they listen -- but what do you even do with a clause like "Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy"? Do you read the first part in your Sam Elliott voice and the second as Marlowe? Let's see how it looked as the lead story Saturday afternoon at Fox:
Well, not exactly. How do you think it looked when you clicked through?

That's not much better at all, is it? Though at least we appear to have actually read our own lede:

President Trump called Andrew McCabe a 'choirboy' as he lauded the former acting FBI Director's firing, suggesting multiple federal reports show “corruption at the highest level.”

OK, double quotes in text, please, and the comma goes inside the quotes in the hed, but no. The president didn't call Mr. McCabe either of those things. Both are plausible insults:

McCabe, you're a choirboy!
McCabe, you're no choirboy!

... but (aside from being, you know, completely opposite) they're not what he was talking about. He was talking about James Comey, not McCabe. And you'd like to think that, even at Fox, there might be enough native speakers to figure that out.

 Don't spend too much time thinking nice thoughts about Fox; they've chosen to serve their orange monkey-king, and if that doesn't work out, plenty of coal and steel jobs will no doubt be waiting. (The same can't be said of grownup journalism.) But surely we can all understand that brief moment of panic at the arrival of the midnight tweet. You can see why it took until the following day to figure things out.

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