Monday, March 21, 2005


The day after my first test in Mrs. F's class she walked up to the front of the room and said

"Well, the tests overall were not that great"

She turned and wrote two letters on the board.


Then turned back to a room full of stunned 16 year olds and said "Be Specific."

In the world of academia where length is key being specific sometimes gets lost in our quest to fill pages and pages of blue books or to type 10 pages of words that have some meaning. The MSM seems to have a similar problem in their search for brevity (or is it their search for ratings)

Today on the NYT's health page I see two quotes that are shall we say slightly less than music to my ears.

"Many Americans are taking an active role in their own deaths, "

Many huh, HOw many? Oh... further down in the article we find out we don't actually know how many americans have had an assisted suicide. But the gallup poll says

"In a 2004 Gallup survey, 65 percent agreed that a doctor should be allowed to assist a suicide "when a person has a disease that cannot be cured and is living in pain," up from 52 percent in 1996. "

Oh so, what we actually know is that 65% of american's think that assisted suicide can be okay. But we don't know how many are taking an active role in their own deaths. (by the way, isn't there something else you could be covering besides contributing to the insane media frenzy over Terri Sciavo. I almost miss daily coverage of the artist formerly known as the king of pop's bowel movements.)

"More Celebrities Finding Roles as Antidepressant Advocates"

OKay, more than what? More than two days ago? Please. You're killing me.

Other words I hate. Less, increased, fewer, higher, few, most... the list goes on and on.

These words tell us NOTHING they don't give us any information unless they are followed up or preceeded by actual facts and actual numbers. I could say that I have more money today than I did a year ago. But In actual fact I have about 5 dollars more. Sounds nice, but in reality all I can get with it is a value meal from the McDrivethru.

So I say to the media. B S, be specific.

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