Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Illiteracy Alert at Gannett!

By Nicholas Stix

The following headline and subhead are presently on the front page at Gannett’s Delaware Online.

“Eagles’ Wentz refutes report that he’s ‘selfish,’ admits he can be better

“Carson Wentz also talks about his relationship with the coaches, Nick Foles, and his recovery from a stress fracture in his back.” [Martin Frank, Delaware News Journal, Published 9:13 a.m. ET Feb. 4, 2019 | Updated 3:54 p.m. ET Feb. 4, 2019.]
by Martin Frank,

Carson Wentz didn’t “refute” anything. He simply denied a report. Or did he?

[1] “Carson Wentz said he was ‘a little confused’ when he saw a report in in which some teammates anonymously criticized him and called him ‘selfish’ among other things.

[2] “But while refuting the report, the Eagles quarterback said in an interview with about a half-dozen reporters recently that he can get better.”
A few years ago, semi-literate media operatives—writers and editors—began using the word “refute” as a synonym for “deny.”

To “refute” is to definitively prove something wrong. To “deny” is simply to claim that something is wrong. There’s a world of difference between the two.

My hunch is that media operative claims someone “refuted” something when the operative likes that person. I’ve never seen a media operative say that President Trump “refuted” anything.

But I’m just getting started.
[5] "But at the end of the day, I will say our locker room is really close. If there were guys that had issues, in hindsight, I wish we could have just talked about them.

[6] "I realize I have my shortcomings. Yes, I can be selfish. I think we all have selfishness inside of us. There’s human elements to that, that I really look at and say, ‘Well, I can get better.’ I always say I can be better on the field, off the field, how I carry myself ..."
So, Wentz didn’t even deny the report, let alone “refute” it!

Here’s another problem with Martin Frank’s copy. See if you can catch it:

“Eagles coach Doug Pederson said after the season that Wentz would be the starting quarterback going forward. And it appears as if Foles will be playing elsewhere.”

For those of you who missed it, due to its ubiquitousness, the phrase “going forward” did not belong in the sentence. That’s because “going forward” doesn’t belong anywhere. It is a completely superfluous phrase that someone coined, and others began using, because they thought it made them look smart. It didn’t.

Here’s a corrected version of the sentence:

“Eagles coach Doug Pederson said after the season that Wentz would be the starting quarterback. And it appears as if Foles will be playing elsewhere.”

The modal verb “would” does all the work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I define refute as deny and deny is refute then I am correct. I define things around here?