Friday, January 26, 2007

Editorials - Loopy and Worse

I made a small and general comment about the local media for their aggressive pursuit of their little spots in the local media political monoculture. I've received some comment taking issue with that but I stand by my initial remark - local editorial stances are like Model-T Fords; any colour you want as long as it's black.

However, to be fair, there are all kinds of shades of black. Two concrete examples have now come my way.

Bond Papers has already noted that this Telegram editorial was thin. I think he was being overgenerous. I know and understand that it's hard to hit the target each and every time but this is just too clumsy. I read the piece several times and then went back to look it it again. I even asked others to look at it. Bond Papers suggests that it's a half-hearted attempt to maybe, possibly make a comment on the Premier's style (as opposed to substance).

I can't tell what the point of this piece is. Either the author was so ambivalent that they qualified the points into meaninglessness or a paragraph was dropped somewhere along the way.

Either way, I don't get it and it's not up the the Tely's usual par.

Then there is this editorial from the Independent. Labradore has commented on it's uncanny resemblance to free verse but I'm more concerned about the substance rather than it's accidental unconventional poetic form.

Editorials are usually defined as an article in a newspaper or magazine that expresses the opinion of its editor or publisher. That's not really the issue here. The real issue is the matter of what constitutes an piece worthy of being called an editorial?

Should an opinion have any basis in fact or can it simply be the product of whatever random set of firing synapses is going on in the head of the author at that very moment?

I would think that a properly constructed editorial would follow roughly this form as concisely suggested by a journalism professor at the University of Rochester.

Instead, Mr. Cleary has chosen to go with the randomly firing synapses route.

The piece is rife with coy unsubstantiated assertions (oil companies shut production in retaliation) and hoary, put-up inflammatory strawmen arguments (national media see Williams as Canada’s Hugo Chávez).

And that's just in the first couple of paragraphs!

The capper is when it goes on to suggest that the gentle reader should "consider this column an exercise in freeing the mind."

May I suggest that if the reader really wants to free their mind that a tab of psychoactive hallucinogenics would be healthier than than reading any more of this kind of predictable, unsubstantiated, prejudiced, pandering dreck week after week.

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