Where are the vaunted editors?

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From time to time, journalists at newspapers still tout the superiority of their product to blogs, and frequently the editing process is cited.

So, does that mean that we can lay the blame for the Chronicle‘s lapses in quality on editors and the editorial process?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Some recent Chronicle gaffes have left us wondering about the vaunted editorial process.

For example, on Wednesday, the Chronicle led off an editorial on Tuesday’s space-shuttle launch as follows:

Once again a crew of the space shuttle Discovery has put America’s space program back on course after the second of two disasters that took the lives of 14 astronauts, destroyed two shuttles and grounded the fleet. The thunder and fire of what appeared to be a nearly flawless launch Tuesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida served notice that NASA’s commitment to station Americans permanently in space and eventually to take them well beyond Earth’s orbit is back at full throttle and soaring upward.

As Matt Bramanti has pointed out, same-day news coverage of the launch made clear that it was not “nearly flawless.” Since then, we’ve learned the launch was so flawed that future launches are again on hold.

Today, Erica Holzer of the Chronicle‘s underwhelming D.C. bureau is responsible for the following:

The vote, which was meant to take 15 minutes, lasted over an hour as the party leadership worked the floor, arm-twisting the undecideds. In the final 217-215 tally, 27 Republicans voted against CAFTA and 15 Democrats supported it.

It’s time for a friendly blogHOUSTON grammar lesson. “Arm-twisting” is a noun formed by hyphenating the noun “arm” and the verb “twisting” (i.e. “The guy who was twisting my arm was engaged in arm-twisting”). Holzer manages to take a noun formed by hyphenation, and use it as a verb! It’s hard to imagine why she or an editor didn’t substitute “twisting the arms of undecideds” for the grammatical atrocity.

Finally, we’ve already pointed out the unfortunate use of the term “final solution” in an editorial about Israel — a choice that reader representative James T. Campbell still has not addressed (in fairness, he’s been very busy blogging about important matters like his newspaper’s coverage of women’s professional basketball). Here’s another snippet from that editorial that seems less than ideal:

He’s got no plans to give up any of the more than 100 remaining West Bank settlements where most of Israel’s 240,000 settlers live.

Wouldn’t “He has no plans” have been a much better choice?

So, where are the vaunted editors who are supposed to catch these sorts of problems that we hear bedevil blogs (and not professional media)? Are they on vacation?


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Kevin Whited
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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX