Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting Only One Side of the Conversation

One of the frustrations of being a DeSoto Sun subscriber is the disjunction between the editorial pages and the news editors put into the newspaper. Too often, as happened twice this week, editorial essays are based on information editors failed to share with readers. That means readers don’t have the same sources as the editorial writers and are unable to fairly evaluate the editor's assertions and conclusions.

Earlier this week, DeSoto Sun Pundit opined about the horrific number of juvenile gangs and criminal gang members. To instill the proper level of hysterics into the piece, the writer cited “research” conducted by Robert McMillan, a third-tier syndicated columnist -- I suspect McMillian's "research" was probably copying some numbers from a think-tank report. Unfortunately, McMillan’s column has not yet appeared in the paper, so readers have no idea what the local writer was talking about. There's no way to evaluate the editorial position or the imminent danger of this threat to local peace and tranquility.

Yesterday’s editorial is a naively framed bit of Pollyannaism based on "housing investment" reports the writer says have been published by Credit Suisse. Try as she might, Old Word Wolf cannot find the article in the newspaper’s archives, and Credit Suisse puts out so many reports that it was hopeless sorting through all the current ones on the Internet to decide how the writer was using the numbers he claims to have dug up.

In a variation of the same problem, readers’ letters to the editor all week have been full of responses to an editorial that seems to have had something to do with drivers who run red lights. Unfortunately, while DeSoto readers can read reader reactions, they have no way of reading the editorial because it wasn’t placed in our zoned edition of paper. It’s like listening to one side of a conversation.

Head Shop Update:

"Housing history has and will repeat itself"

Cramming two tenses into one clause is like putting two cats in a sack.

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