A Rare Moment of Unqualified Clarity From The AP

It’s a pet peeve of mine that journalists so often confuse being “unbiased” with “never suggesting that anyone’s facts, ideas, or claims are better than anyone else’s.” Actually its not so much a pet peeve of mine and more like one of the things I think is most wrong with the country, but close enough.

That’s why I enjoyed reading the first sentence of this AP story just now:

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said Tuesday that Sen. John McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years enduring brutal treatment at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, doesn’t know how effective waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques can be.

It seems that sometimes, by mistake, a reporter includes relevant information in the logical place for it and winds up making it clear right off the bat that one of the people involved in the story is an idiot.

Now if only we could get this to happen in purpose. But somehow, I suspect we are still a long way away from our chance to read a lede that says “Sarah Palin claimed today that an independent commission report had cleared her of all legal and ethical wrongdoing in a recent scandal, in spite of the fact that we’re all sitting here reading the report which contains the sentence ‘I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110 (a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.’ And frankly we’re all having a good laugh about it.”

Okay, that’s all I have time for. Sorry I didn’t make that return-to-blogging that I promised last week. Finals and friends’ graduations have had me swamped. Try me again this Friday.

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About Colin West
Colin West is a graduate student in quantum information theory, working at the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. Originally from Colorado (where he attended college), his interests outside of physics include politics, paper-folding, puzzles, playing-cards, and apparently, plosives.

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