Newspaper Watch

Language, language

This is on the sports pages, not the opinion:

The NFL season on Thursday night got off to a dismal start, and exposed the pernicious sentiments of many in America, when some fans jeered what the league described as “a moment of silence dedicated to the ongoing fight for equality in our country”.

Pernicious, eh?

Deere is correct that some people in the US agree with the president on protests, but many back the players. A recent Washington Post poll found that 56% of Americans believe kneeling during the anthem is an appropriate form of protest, with 42% finding it unacceptable.

42% is now a trivial “some”.

No, you’re not love

I always say I sort of fell into journalism. But in reality, I’ve adored writing and storytelling for as long as I can remember, and I knew I was good at it, even though I was scared to admit that it was what I wanted to do with my life.

Growing up, when I thought of journalists, the first people who came to mind were stern news anchors in suits speaking the Queen’s English, or reporters like David Frost, who I learned about in school. Even fictitious journalists, like Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter, were slimy exaggerators. They weren’t Black girls from south London growing up in council housing. For someone like me, journalism never seemed like it could be a sustainable career.

In 2015 I joined gal-dem, a magazine that centres the voices of women and non-binary people of colour. We created the magazine because our voices are so often left out of the media. At the start we were young, passionate, and basically winging it. Now, gal-dem is a fully functioning, nationally recognised business, with a membership model – and I’m the lifestyle editor. From takeovers at the V&A and Guardian Weekend to hosting our own club nights, we have always done it because we love it. I never thought this could become my job.

I don’t put myself forward as a great stylist nor perfect linguistic manipulator. But that’s shite. You’re not good at the writing and storytelling love, sorry.

The Guardian’s published you for the same reason that Mummy of the short bus kid sticks the crayon drawing on the fridge.

Can you do this?

Well, obviously you can as The Guardian just has. But should you?

Locals rediscover streets and beaches in resorts absent of foreign tourists

The tourists can be absent, sure. And there can be an absence of tourists in a town. But absent of tourists?

Are they employing non-native speakers or is this some non-English form of English that globalised newspapers are forcing upon us?

That’s where you’re wrong

There’s an assumption that if you write for the national press, you must be well-off: journalism is, after all, a profession.

Nope, it’s a craft. As we can prove, for as those who consider it a profession move in the pay has fallen. Social status being a part of total compensation….

Something of a contradiction here

And customers need to be much better served by real people in online and phone customer service, not just robots that direct you to a series of generic answers to problems.

Finally, banks must embrace better technology to help small businesses who rely on traditional branch services.

I’ll have both please!

James Coney is money editor


Ezra Klein describes what’s wrong with politics but, of course, doesn’t realise

Clinton has her faults, but her strengths would have been on display here: a deep understanding of the federal government, a belief that it is the president’s job to solve national problems, an unparalleled enthusiasm for convening experts and synthesizing their knowledge into policy, an unusual enthusiasm for the details of interagency collaboration, a relentless focus on operational details.

President Clinton would be able to tell you where every vaccine in development stood, how fast tests were coming back in all 384 metropolitan areas, what PPE stocks looked like in every midsize city in the country. We would not be free of the coronavirus, but unlike under this administration, we would have a plan, and competent people running it, and we would’ve had it in place for months and months by now.

But that is not the world we live in. In this world, the unqualified reality TV star who won 3 million fewer votes captured the White House and botched the pandemic.

Idiot gets elected, not the competent one.

Moreover, Biden lacks some of Clinton’s virtues: her policy sharpness, her attention to detail, her polymathic hunger for information, her obvious delight in the details of governance. The difference between them was on display in April when she endorsed him. There’s nothing wrong with Biden’s performance, but Clinton is by far the more knowledgeable and precise in her discussion of Covid-19.

In that way, Biden neutralizes some of the more high-minded critiques of Clinton. What he has that she didn’t is fuzzier: a reputation for likability, for relatability. Clinton was beloved by her staff, by those who met her or worked with her, but the person they described was rarely the person the public saw. Biden’s warmth shines through on the trail. There’s no “you’re likable enough” burns in his background.

This time around it’s between the likeable idiot and the incompetent idiot.

The entire method of selection fails in – in Ezra’s own view that is – getting someone even vaguely competent into office. Yet Ezra is convinced that whoever does get elected should ever much more power over us and the way we lead our lives.

Ezra’s telling us that the incompetents should have more power. Hunh?

Why be surprised at this?

BBC impartiality row: Newsnight policy editor accused of ‘off the scale’ bias
Lewis Goodall wrote a piece for the New Statesman which had the cover line: ‘How the Government’s ineptitude created a lost generation’

This is the show that used Paul Mason as economics editor. Replaced him with Duncan, umm, whassisface, a TUC economist. It’s not like “impartial” is the middle name ‘ere.


In a dark TV ad aired in 1971, a jerk tosses a bag of trash from a moving car. The garbage spills onto the moccasins of a buckskin-clad Native American, played by Italian American actor Espera Oscar de Corti. He sheds a tear on camera, because his world has been defiled, uglied, and corrupted by trash. The poignant ad, which won awards for excellence in advertising, promotes the catchline “People Start Pollution. People can stop it.” What’s lesser known is the nonprofit group Keep America Beautiful, funded by the very beverage and packaging juggernauts pumping out billions of plastic bottles each year (the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Anheuser-Busch Companies), created the PSA.

Given that plastic bottles were first used in the US in 1970 I rather doubt either that billions were used a year later or that it was something which was worth advertising about.

But then this is from Mashable. The website that hired as their economics editor someone fired from The Guardian for their inability to understand economics.

Dear Poppy – Read Your Own Newspaper

The partners of past vice-presidents (let alone potential vice-presidents) barely ever get this much attention. Has anyone heard about Mike Pence’s wife?


The news that Karen Pence is returning to work at an anti-gay Christian school should remind us of the vice-president’s dangerous bigotry


It looks like Mike Pence is quite the trendsetter. The US vice-president famously refuses to have dinner alone with any woman who isn’t his wife –


You see, this week a Washington Post article about Karen Pence revealed that the vice-president will not eat a meal with a woman other than his wife.

Unbiased me, unbiased

In the pre-dawn hour, as the dark becomes less sure of itself, I get up to go to the hospital. It’s cold, and I have to fast before this surgery, so I take my Lexapro pill with a sip of water right away. I was diagnosed with cholesteatoma before the pandemic locked the world in its grip, and went on to the public waiting list. The ENT specialist told me it was a routine surgery, a cutting away of abnormal growth behind the ear canal; decades ago, people died from this, their own skin growing into their brains. There was some risk of deafness, or damage to a nerve that could paralyse half of my face, but he had never slipped yet.

I’m the kind of man who assumes such odds exist to spite me, so I was not reassured. My fiance, Hannah, drove us to St Vincent’s at 6am, and the roads were busy, maybe because the restrictions were set to ease the next day and people couldn’t wait, or maybe because capitalism is a death cult that will brook no surcease, people gotta eat or work to pay the landlords,

Bloke living in first world country, with first world medicines, first world medical care, driving a first world car on first world roads, complains about what made the first world.

And, of course, having to pay – somehow – for your food and housing is pure capitalism rather than the human condition, innit?

I don’t think so, not really

The thousand tonnes of TNT used by the bomber not only demolished our workplace

A thousand tonnes of TNT would take up 25 trucks.

The blast was caused by a suicide bomber driving a truck bomb. The vehicle has been identified as a large 2002 flatbed Kamaz (manufactured in Eastern Europe and part of the former Iraqi establishment’s fleet).[7] Investigators in Iraq suspected the bomb was made from old munitions, including a single 500-pound aerial bomb, from Iraq’s pre-war arsenal.

TNT equivalent, maybe.

Pendantry perhaps, but when the UN gets this sorta stuff wrong then we’ve difficulties with the UN’s ability to do stuff, right?

I don’t think so, really, I don’t

But as well as reversing years of poverty reduction, the pandemic has also punctured the growth of the developing world’s burgeoning middle class. Over the last decade the middle class globally has been expanding rapidly, according to Homis Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the co-founder of the World Data Lab.

“By my calculations, over the last decade, around 100 to 150 billion people per year were entering into the middle class,” he said, defining this group as those earning between $11 and $20 a day.

Arts graduates and numbers, eh?

Susannah Savage
Yashab Osama

I expect the launch to be late

Carlo De Benedetti, the former owner of La Repubblica, one of Italy’s biggest daily newspapers, is no stranger to a challenge. Now, at the age of 85, the tycoon is about to embark on what might be his biggest one to date – launching a newspaper in the midst of a serious financial slump.

De Benedetti wants the newspaper, due to launch online and in print in mid-September, to be a progressive, independent voice in a market weighed down by political and economic influence. And, as its name – Domani (Tomorrow) – suggests, the focus will be on coverage that looks to the future.

Domani is used in Italian to mean much the same as the Spanish “manana” but without that culture’s – language’s – sense of urgency.

Full marks to The Guardian here

On the Bristol Bus Company boycott:

At the time, the Bristol Omnibus Company was notorious for racial discrimination in recruitment. Hackett says labourers from the colonies and former colonies were allowed to “wash the buses at night”, but barred from the better-paid work on the bus crews. This segregation was not only upheld by the bus company, but also vigorously defended by the local branch of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, which did not want its members to lose jobs to immigrants.

They even point out that it was a nationalised company too. government and unions, at the time, being more racist that the society around both. Good on them for actually telling the story straight.


So, poverty during lockdown:

‘Eat out to help out’: a forlorn dream for those struggling to feed a family
The government is spending about £500m to pay people to go to restaurants, while families in poverty get next to nothing

OK. From the report:

In our study, we found that everyday budgeting
practices that low income families previously employed suddenly became inaccessible or
impractical. For instance, shopping in multiple supermarkets for reduced items or the
cheapest prices was no longer feasible

And in response, the government has banned BOGOFs and promotions on certain foods. Cheered on by The Guardian, the paper bringing us these stories of poverty, of course.

Seriously Guardian? Seriously?

There’s nothing complex about it, scoffs someone (we’ll call him Slim Jim) every time the topic of weight loss comes up in the media: eat less and exercise more. If I’d lost a pound every time I’d heard that, my struggles would be over. Again, the implication is that fat people are stupid, lazy or lacking in self-discipline, and probably all three.

I don’t think I am lazy. I’ve climbed to 18,000 feet, run a half-marathon (OK, jogged) and written three novels (one published). I can be lazy certainly, but surely all of us can.

I don’t think I lack self-discipline. It was arguably an excess of self-discipline that enabled me to starve myself in my 20s until my BMI dropped to below 15. It is more than double that now, but I don’t believe my character has fundamentally changed.

“But that’s an eating disorder!” cries Slim Jim. “It’s different for most people!” And it’s true, I have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but then I’ve been diagnosed with lots of things.

This the prelude to insisting that obesity is about deprivation etc. At which point:

Author Clare Allan spent 10 years in a mental health institution.

So we do rather know that the lady isn’t representative of the average land whale. So why the use of the lady as the exemplar of how complicated it all is?

Them tech giant monopolies

It would probably work better if those warning us of oli- and mon- opolies knew their stuff:

much as it examined and then banned Microsoft from bundling its Explorer search engine with its other software more than a decade ago.

Explorer was a search engine then, was it? Not a browser?

Inman even links to this:

European computer users who rely upon Microsoft Windows and its Internet Explorer application to get online are to be offered the chance to switch to a competing web browser. The deal today between the software company and European Union regulators ends more than a decade of legal wrangling.