Friday, August 05, 2005

Oxymoronic headline writing

"Before I start," began the very amateurish public speaker, "I want to say something."
I was reminded of that bit of illustrative whimsy by a front-page headline in the Friday, 5 August, edition. It tries to boost the governor's visit to promote the Tennessee school system with, "A pre-start on education."
Copy editors, if there are any at the Times Free Press, and page designers are, at least at most "news"papers, under a lot of pressure, and are often not given more than six to ten hours to produce and proofread the pages sent out to subscribers and other readers.
Perhaps that explains the "duh" head on a national story: "Dobson angers critics with stem cell remarks."
Dobson could say "The sun comes up in the east" and he'd anger "critics."
This is a "dog bites man" story.
The real story would have been if his supporters had been angered; or if his critics had said, "Well, golleee, he's right."
Or, perish the thought, the real story is what Dobson said, not the reaction of the people with whom the majority of reporters and editors agree.
For the record: I have no opinion, yet, on stem cell research.
But I do know the U.S. Constitution in no way authorizes the federal government to spend our money on it.
A Libertarian Party candidate said in 1992, when the government pays for research, it gets research. Perhaps instead, he said, the government should pay for results.

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