July 22, 2010

Do you hear what I hear?

The Shirley Sherrod travesty points up how far journalism has fallen in this country. One incorrect piece of "media" posted on the internet is multiplied and amplified a thousand times by so-called news media before anyone in the business does their homework to learn whether there is anything truthful or accurate about it.

The fact that our government acted in the same fashion is disappointing at best, and not the fault of the media that led them there.

But among all the major media, none is as adept at legitimizing hearsay as Fox News. And the epitome of hearsay "journalism" at Fox News is Fox & Friends.

My favorite Fox & Friends phrase is "some say." As in, "Some say that Obama killed and ate his mother," never explaining who those "some" people saying that are, but imbuing the statement with legitimacy.

I imagine Steve Doocy in kindergarten, wanting to grow up to be a reporter. He sees some kids taunting Brian during recess, calling him a bed-wetter, when in fact they have no evidence of that being true. Steve picks up his toy microphone and says "Some say Brian is a bed-wetter."

That's journalism a la Fox News.

July 16, 2010

Not "Sort Of"..."Definitely!"

I'll admit to picking up some of the verbal tics that circulate in our culture. I say "you know" when I should simply pause as I form my words.

But there is one tic that has become prevalent which bothers me much more: "Sort of." This is different than "you know" "like" or "ummm."

"Sort of" or "kind of" softens and qualifies whatever it is we are saying. It's as if we're not confident to just state what it is we wish to communicate.

Example from this morning's New York Times:
Phil Mickelson played through tough conditions, finishing at one-over 73. "It kind of affected my attitude a little bit," he said.
Kind of? A little bit? The guy finished ten strokes off the lead!