Saturday, April 03, 2010

'Fact or fiction?' headline for fictive article

Emily Bregel continues propagandizing for nationalized health care.
Her front-page article on Wednesday, 31 March, is headlined "Fact or fiction?" and piles more fiction onto the piles she has already shoveled out for us.
Her very first sentence echoes her previous piles: "From the debunked 'death panels' rumor over the summer to a politician's prediction of 'Armageddon,' overstated or outright false statements about the impact of reform are drowning out legitimate concerns over changes in the nation's health care system, some local health industry leaders worry."
Naively thinking, or hoping, that Ms. Bregel just didn't understand the English language, I wrote her some months ago about her terminology:
Dear Emily (this was my second e-pistle; she finally answered my first one after I made three attempts),
Here is the way I heard it, many years ago: A congressman from Asheville, North Carolina, would stand up in the House to give a speech, but would first wink at his co-conspirators and say, "This is for Buncombe," which, as you know, is the county in which Asheville sits.
Then he would proceed to pile up a bunch of ... well, buncombe.
"Bunk" became the shortened form of "buncombe."
Here is what Wikipedia says:

The American Heritage Dictionary traces the passage of the words bunk (noun), debunk (verb) and debunker (noun) into American English in 1923 as a belated outgrowth of "bunkum", of which the first recorded use was in 1828, apparently related to a poorly received "speech for Buncombe" given by North Carolina representative Felix Walker during the 16th United States Congress (1819–1821).[2]

The term debunk originated in a 1923 novel Bunk, by American novelist William Woodward (1874–1950), who used it to mean to "take the bunk out of things."

Often the term "debunkery" is not limited to arguments about scientific validity. It can also be used in a more general sense at attempts to discredit any opposing point of view, such as that of a political opponent.

So, as you see, "debunk" is a pejorative term and not really suited to the use you gave it. It would be acceptable in an opinion column or editorial, but it is out of place in what is supposed to be a non-partisan, objective news story.

Naturally, she didn't have the courtesy to reply; and, perhaps also naturally, she continues to propagandize, to "report" dishonestly, or at least inaccurately,

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