July 20, 2005

Word Choice

This is something that annoys me, so I figured I'd throw it out there for discussion. So, I'm reading this story in the Star-Tribune, and I immediately get bogged down by the headline:

Investigators blast Mayo accounting practices

Now, I see this a lot, particularly when the media reports on Democrats criticizing Republicans or vice versa, but also in cases like this one. My question is, why the hell do they opt for the word "blast?" They also use the term "bash" with regularity.

I mean, maybe it's just me, but the word "blast" conjures images of, you know, explosions and shit, or maybe a party that is just super-duper kick ass. If somebody is actually blasting someone else, there better be blood and bone fragments and loose teeth. A person blasting another person sounds suspiciously like someone got run down by a shotgun-weilding maniac.

But, according to news stories like this one, "blasting" means investigators saying they've:

"never seen an accounting system with such basic failures,''

That's not a blast. That's not even a severe tongue lashing. Face it, it's insulting to the very word "blast." I think the media needs a better word here. "Blast" and "Bash" should be reserved for stories in which somebody actually gets blasted or bashed, as in "The accused assaillant reportedly bashed the victim's head in with a lead pipe, and then blasted them with a 12-gauge."

Any thoughts? What would be a good word to use in these cases other than blast or bash? Keep in mind, the media likes "bash" and "blast" because they're short and fit well in headlines, but also because it gives the impression of conflict, which of course sells. So, something other than "bash" or "blast" Discuss. I'll be over here at my desk, having a blast bashing on my keyboard.

Posted by Ryan at July 20, 2005 04:12 PM | TrackBack

Almost as bad as calling this a "classic diss" (via Ace).

Investigators slap Mayo accounting practices with a wet noodle?

Posted by: Steve G. at July 21, 2005 07:58 AM

I see a lot of that sort of hyperbolic writing in the sports section... though I guess that's kinda where it belongs.

Speaking of which, what bugs me is how the media seems to want to turn every game into a heated decades-old rivalry. I mean, when it's a Yankees-Sox game, or a Steelers-Browns game, or a Redskins-Cowboys game I'd say the rivalry thing is accurate. And I know that there are lots of college rivalries out there (Oklahoma vs Texas, right?). But when it's the Patriots playing the Seahawks, that's not a fucking rivalry and should not be described as one.

Posted by: David Grenier at July 21, 2005 09:41 AM

Investigators tut-tut Mayo accounting practices

Posted by: Robert S. at July 21, 2005 10:23 AM

Speaking of sports headline hyperbole, my favorite ever was from the Seattle Times a few years ago: "M's beat A's with hot bats."

Now that's vivid!

Posted by: flamingbanjo at July 21, 2005 01:04 PM

How 'bout "Investigators denounce Mayo accounting practices."

Posted by: G at July 21, 2005 05:35 PM

"Investigators tell on Mayo accountants"

Posted by: smolderinglute at July 22, 2005 10:11 AM

Mayo accounting practices questioned

This is too easy. I should work for a newspaper.

Posted by: Robert S. at July 22, 2005 10:37 AM
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