Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cliche corner: Calling in the experts

I guess so. On the other hand, you could be wondering if you can gnaw your own leg off and escape before the writer manages to come up with a third cliche for this miserable lede.

The online version, should you be scoring along at home, is different for no apparent reason:

When you run into your worst nightmare, what are the chances it will also be someone else’s finest hour?

That, I think, suggests why this is such a singularly awful piece of writing. It really doesn't matter what order the words go in, or whether they form a question or a declaration. The Freep has decided that the best way to handle this story on Wednesday (the accident in question did close one of the interstates during rush hour, but that was Monday) is to let an editorial writer ruminate about it on the front page. And from that no good can come.

Any story of this nature -- the "news" version inside manages to use "Good Samaritan" four times, nearly all of them spelled correctly -- is likely to underscore the deeply ideological, persuasive nature of the news enterprise in general. As surely as the latest installment of the War On Christianity at Fox, this is a tale about how the world ought to be, rather than a report about what it is. If you put your dollar in the machine hoping for some news, you can be forgiven for asking why you were given a bedtime story instead. And why, if it must be a bedtime story, it couldn't be written with some minimal attention to form.

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