Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Loaded Language

I've removed the byline and identifying paper because I'm not trying to pick on them. But I have seen this construction a few times and it's bothersome. You can't take sides for the sake of what you think is a clever or dramatic lede.

There's also the problem of a reporter using the language of one of the story's subjects, even though it is rather inflammatory.

It also would have been nice if someone had asked Sen. Chuck Grassley if he meant this. Perhaps the quote is incomplete?

"I'm not going to vote for any bill I'm not going to read," said the senator.

What? He hasn't read it and he isn't going to?

Here's the story:

Tempers flare at Grassley meeting

POCAHONTAS - President Barack Obama is a fascist.

Never, ever, should we do this, especially with such a loaded line. You shouldn't have been writing this way to start with. In this day of SEO, this story could well wind up at the top of a search heap consisting mostly of politically charged blogs that are accusing the president of acting like Hitler. No respectable newspaper wants to wind up there.

This and other assertions flew through an emotionally-charged town hall meeting conducted by Sen. Chuck Grassley Monday in Pocahontas.
"The president of the United States, that's who you should be concerned about. Because he's acting like a little Hitler," said Tom Eisenhower, a World War II veteran. "I'd take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me."
Grassley met with constituents as part of a junket that also brought him to Humboldt, Ruthven and Rockwell City Monday.

No, a political trip to meet with constituents is not a junket, unless you've flown them all to Tahiti to conduct a fake town hall.

Harry Aden, of Jolley, said he came to the meeting to express his anger over the government's irresponsible spending.

"I wanted to explain to Chuck why we're so angry about this irresponsible spending since they've started the bailouts and stuff," he said. "I don't want this health care bill either, but that's just the straw that broke the camel's back. The real problem is irresponsible spending on all fronts."
You can't just borrow loaded language as your own. You've just said it's irresponsible spending. Not for you to say unless you're writing an investigative piece that can prove that.

Grassley seemed to elicit approval from the crowd on a number of key issues.
"I'm not going to vote for any bill I'm not going to read," said the senator, as the audience rang out with applause.

What? See above.

UPDATE: Fev hits on a similar goofball lede and ridicules it to death.

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