Thursday, June 29, 2017

Halfway round the world

In which the fake news gets halfway round the world -- OK, about 220 miles south, given the I-75 detour -- before the editors put on their trousers:

Columbus received a top ranked among 75 other cities in a comparison done by QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison marketplace. Unfortunately, the ranking isn’t good news. It’s for the worst-driving cities in America.

And you can write the rest from there. A competent spellcheck* probably should have caught "received a top ranked," but it wouldn't tell you that the "comparison" is meaningless babble designed to snag a few bursts of free publicity for QuoteWizard. For that, it would help to have an editor, and guess what the Dispatch** did that doesn't bode well for editors?

Please don't mistake that for a cause-and-effect argument. We're no more hospitable to post hoc claims now than back before the War on Editing began. But it's worth pointing out that if you're, oh, the New York Times and you want to avoid running stupid post hoc editorial claims about the better-forgotten Sarah Palin, you probably shouldn't start by eliminating the job classification*** with the highest proportion of people who will call your writers on bogus reasoning.

* Word didn't, from which you may draw conclusions next time Word questions you about the passive voice.

** Your Editor and frequent commenter RayB are somewhere amid the throng in this crowd shot.
***  Which is still holding the bridge with class, if you've missed it.

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