Wednesday, December 23, 2009

That's that

Add to your list of ledes to be shot on sight: the "that's what."

"That's what" doesn't show up in the lede itself. It begins the second paragraph after an unsupported assertion, like this:

Embattled political consultant Sam Riddle not only pointed a shotgun at his live-in girlfriend when she apparently caught him with another woman, but he cocked the weapon, too.

That's what Magistrate Renee McDuffee said in setting a $25,000 bond for Riddle during his Tuesday arraignment on charges of felonious assault and using a firearm to commit a felony.

Unless you're James Thurber (which you aren't), the results will make you look silly. Except when you're dealing with cop stories, in which case it makes you look like a shill for the cops. Don't. Any lede that requires "that's what" attribution in the following graf is a Lede of Satan and must be destroyed or kicked back for rewriting.

This outstanding late entry in the Zeugma of the Year contest is also worth noting:

He also must stay away from former state Rep. Mary Waters, with whom he shared a townhouse on Navarre Place in Detroit and federal charges for alleged bribes to secure approval for a pawnshop to locate in Southfield.

Don't tell me. He made up his mind and a grab for the shotgun?



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