Saturday, February 19, 2011

No. Not at all, actually

Today's wire editing quiz: When the New York Times says something really remarkably stupid, you should

a) Quietly delete it and spend the space on something more informative, or

b) Blithely repeat it! Because if the Times says it, it has to be true! 

If you guessed (a), take the rest of the evening off:

The images from Wisconsin — with its protests, shutdown of some public services and missing Democratic senators, who fled the state to block a vote — evoked the Middle East more than the Midwest.

The parallels raise the inevitable question: Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?

Well, no. No they didn't, and no it isn't. I mean, if you wanted to invoke demonstrations by English-speaking people over proposed changes in public spending patterns (and you thought your readers so brain-dead that they couldn't handle the idea without some sort of puerile analogy), you could try London. And what would it mean for Wisconsin to be "Tunisia" -- rather than, one supposes, Trafalgar, Gettysburg, Stalingrad, Ap Bac or "Animal House"?

There's rather an important story to be told here, and out here in the sticks, we're sort of counting on the Times to do the sort of reporting it prides itself on -- not the stuff that sounds like a holiday weekend shift at EyeWitlessNews9.

(Regular readers, especially those of you in the academic dodge, will want to keep up with the coverage over at Mr. Verb's fine site.)

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