Sunday, March 05, 2017

We Need More Variety

I don't have much to say about Trump claiming he was wiretapped, or whatever.  But this coverage in The Hollywood Reporter is weird.

First, of course, why is this political story in The Hollywood Reporter?  Apparently, like the rest of Hollywood, they consider themselves partisans, when formerly everyone thought their job was to tell us the latest in show biz news.

Then there's the headline: "Trump Alleges, With No Evidence, Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower During Election"

That's a long headline.  Isn't there any way to shorten it?  Like sticking to the facts, and cutting the argumentative "With No Evidence"?

In fact, Trump had evidence.  The Reporter could say it was questionable evidence, or insufficient evidence, or absurd evidence, but Trump didn't just make it up out of nowhere--he read about it (and it was easy enough to find what he read, though apparently the Reporter--along with their original source, the AP--didn't think it worth the effort).

Or perhaps the Reporter is saying Trump's tweets (we don't capitalize "tweet," do we?), where he made the accusations, didn't include any evidence.  True, I suppose, but barely worth noting in a headline, since the accusation is the story, tweets tend to be short, and simply saying there's no evidence could be misleading.

Then we get to Obama's response: "A spokesperson for Obama refuted Trump's claim in an official statement posted to Twitter." There's got to be a better verb than "refute." Yes, it can mean to contradict, but its main meaning is to disprove. How about "questioned" or "dismissed"?

(And then you read the statement, which doesn't say much, simply noting Obama didn't order surveillance since that's what the Department of Justice does, as if that's responsive.)

Then they go into a long section where they note all the issues regarding Trump and the Russians, which would seem tangential at best.  But suddenly the Reporter doesn't seem too interested in providing "evidence," preferring to bring up the charges against Trump.

Funny thing is, if they honestly believe Trump is making crazy claims, the best way to get that across is to report it straight.

PS  Trump also tweeted that Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't quit Celebrity Apprentice, he was fired.  The Hollywood Reporter headline: "Trump Claims Schwarzenegger Was 'Fired' From 'Celebrity Apprentice'"

Now that's a headline.  Trump, you'll note, offered no evidence for this belief, but the Reporter didn't feel the need to state that.  Perhaps they're naturally better at it when it comes to reporting show biz news.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

CG here, Google has decided to log me out and damned if I'll log back in, but what evidence do you have for this proposition: "when formerly everyone thought their job was to tell us the latest in show biz news."

If you're speaking of the 1950's, that might be true. I doubt very much if anyone has thought that since 2000, and very likely not since 1992, and quite possibly since 1980. My starting point would be 1968, and I'd iterate in both directions from there.

10:34 AM, March 05, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. Repeating a claim from a habitual prevaricator tends to spread the claim rather than its authenticity. Its awkward but you need new reporting conventions after boys repeatedly crying wolf and false alarms. I've seen other papers today use the "with no evidence" clause in their headlines

11:53 AM, March 05, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a racist and sexist, Anonymous. Repeating claims from Obama and the Clintons was unavoidable; though it is true that the "with no evidence" usage has really peaked with Trump. It's almost as of if these "news" organizations are fake or something.

12:20 PM, March 05, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Most news organizations demonstrate their views in their headlines. But Time is the master: all it needs is a cover photo.

Who would you invite for dinner: him or him?

2:01 PM, March 05, 2017  

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