The Slippery Style in American Rhetoric

My first career was in politics.  My jobs involved a lot of writing: memoranda, speeches, whitepapers, presentations, letters, reports, talking points, even monographs.  I’d studied classical rhetoric in college and had a lot of preconceptions about effective political communication; these quickly fell by the wayside as I was forced by bosses, clients, and circumstances—that is,…

Failure in the Passive Voice

Now we’re getting somewhere. Mikkel Danielsen appears to be waking up to reality over at Berlingske: Joe Biden is struck by a big downturn: “it’s alarming”Mikkel Danielsen, Berlingske.dk, Oct 13 There’s no real news in this long article: Biden’s poll numbers have been declining since early August, his Afghanistan fiasco was two months ago, there’s…

Sex Sells (And Sells Out)

One of the top stories on DR’s homepage this morning was the one I wrote about Monday: Bretman Rock’s appearance on the cover of Playboy. DR’s headline proclaimed, ” ‘Huge’ with a homosexual man on the cover of Playboy.” The image accompanying the headline featured a heavily made-up and mostly bare-chested Rock against a wall…

Mette Frederiksen on CNN

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was interviewed by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour yesterday. Frederiksen was in New Delhi on a state visit to India; Amanpour was back in CNN’s Atlanta studio. The 13-minute interview was ostensibly about the climate, and most of it was. Berlingske chose to focus on Amanpour’s having ambushed Frederiksen with an immigration question:…

Dumbing Down Dumb

Big stories tend to get covered simultaneously by major media outlets around the world, but smaller stories sometimes take a while to percolate their way around the world, and they can change along the way, sometimes significantly. So when I see a European headline about a story I’d seen covered days or weeks earlier by…

Bad News is No News

There hasn’t been much news about America in the Danish media this week, which reflects the Danish media’s conviction that when Democrats are in power, bad news is no news. Joe Biden’s job approval is down to 40% in the Quinnipiac poll (53% disapproval), 43% in Rasmussen (55% disapproval), and 44% in Economist/YouGov (49% disapproval). …

Let the Taliban be the Taliban

The western world invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago largely to eliminate the Taliban, a primitive and barbaric political movement that had taken control of most of that country and was believed to be harboring Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the September 11 attacks on America. In the vacuum of our recent departure, the…

Let Us Now Praise Reptilians

I never heard of Durek Verrett until I stumbled over this article today: He’s the boyfriend of the Norwegian princess and a self-described shaman. Now he’s outed himself as a reptileLiv Almer, Berlingske.dk, Oct 6 Before we dive into the crazy mixed-up world of Durek (né Derek) Verrett, here’s a quick Wikipedia summary of his royal girlfriend:…

American Bogeymen

A project at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has been looking into the polarization of American culture and politics in the hopes of finding an antidote. In their own words, they hope to “use innovative polling and data analytics to identify America’s political fissures, and explain ways to foster compromise.” That’s fancy talk…

Hyperbole Will Kill Everyone, Destroy the Planet, and Mutilate All Puppies

A recent article from the Financial Times is an excellent specimen of a lot that’s wrong with today’s journalism. The Strange Death of American DemocracyMartin Wolf, Financial Times, Sep 28 I’m glad it’s in English, because I don’t have to worry about losing anything in translation. Here’s how it opens: “An American ‘Caesarism’ has now…