Sunday, April 18, 2010

here's why it could help you today

I've been following the various incarnations of Olga's story on the web for a few hours now and have a couple interesting observations.

When an entity picks up a wire story they may edit it and headline it (yes, 'headline' is a verb, wanna fight?) as they wish.

A scan of the variations of Olga's story shows that these decisions are completely arbitrary with a tendency towards the willfully incorrect.

In O's original lead, it was 'snot' that was sneezed. 'Mucus' would have been my choice, but 'saliva' is just wrong. And yet it was changed thus by the Merc. I already bitched about globules vs. droplets. Internally, sometimes the story is twice or more as long as other times, and I think Olga's original ending was much better than any of the edited versions.

But the worst of it so far is:

"Did you get the flu this year? So did some spacemen. Here's why it could help you today."

from the Greeley Tribune.

--- wait! I'm wrong.

The spoon-feeding of the headline is still annoying and inaccurate, but I was mainly bothered by use of the word 'spaceman' which, I thought, was a term for people *from* space. Linguistic precedent (Norwegian, Caveman, etc) and my sci-fi literacy fooled me into thinking such-- but most dictionaries say that a spaceman is just another word for astronaut.

Example number 47 to the 54th power of 'What the fuck do I know?'

But what I do know is that nothing in Olga's article about stem cell research on Discovery could, will, or should help you today.

Not that journalistic hucksterism is even worth railing against...

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