Monday, May 23, 2005

There oughta be ...

If I were more avuncular, or grandfatherly, perhaps I could look with kindly eye and consider as child-like faith a comment by a (stereotypical) journalist in a recent article about a fatal accident in an amusement park in northeastern Tennessee.
The reporter -- not a Times Free Press staffer -- said the state was one of only a few that didn't have regulations on amusement park rides.
A gentler soul, as I said, could be touched by the simple, naive belief that a government rule could have averted the accident in which a woman fell from a ride and was killed.
Reporters often say things like that: Such-and-such state has no regulations on ... whatever.
So-and-so city doesn't have any laws regulating ... something or other.
As readers of this blog, and of the Chattanooga Times Free Press and of newspapers generally, know, newspapers and magazines make mistakes (look especially at the recent whopper by Newsweek), make errors of fact and errors of conclusion and errors of general knowledge, not to mention many errors of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage.
(Reporters usually know nothing of economics and very little of history and of moral philosophy.)
Reporters never, though, mention this: Tennessee also has no state law overseeing language in newspapers, regulating correct editing, mandating accuracy in newspapers.
Obviously, with linguistic quality in, especially, newspapers and news services deteriorating on an almost daily basis, now is the time for the Tennessee General Assembly to step forward with some corrective regulations, to write bills to repair the situation with forward-thinking laws.
Reporters need to take note: As of now, Tennessee is one of only 50 states with no newspaper regulation, a shocking condition too reactionary for words.
All reporters and news outlets should immediately, and frequently, alert the public to this lack.

1 comment:

  1. Many years ago Six Flags over Mid America had a fatal accident; a very overweight woman undid her strap on a ride and was thrown to her death. The strap, you see, was too tight because of the woman`s girth, and the park had shelved a size policy in the government mandated interest of ``fairness``. I wonder if your child-like reporter ever considered the law of unintended consequences?

    I agree, misuse of a mind should be illegal, and if the pen is mightier than the sword then perhaps concealed-carry laws should apply!