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Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to properly "blast"

For us at A&G,  it used to be one of the most challenging aspects for this blog was figuring how to take mainstream news mis-information, complicated gobbletygook terminology and endless stats & graphs, charts etc.. and present it in a manner that was both informative and understandable to all while being respectful to the readers' intellect.

Currently one of our biggest challenges is to avoid constant repetition.

Economically, the US and globally is in one big holding pattern.  No different than a plane being prevented to land yet can't go anywhere else but in circles. Eventually that plane runs out of gas and comes down to earth one way or another.

And economies with massive debt who do nothing to alleviate the problems or set up tougher legislation to prevent future financial criminality, end up the same way.

So, today's focus is less on economics and more on word choice.

Specifically, how the media treats its viewers and readers as complete utter imbeciles by choosing emotional words to draw people into a story which exaggerate the news-blurb's intensity.

You're probably most aware of this in sports..  "Eagles thrash Redskins 42-21".. "Manchester United buries Newcastle 2-0", etc..

Its also done in practically every news item you read but more subtle.

~ Afterwards, they laid in bed and shared a cigarette...

We did this exercise once before a year ago and will do it again-- For "fun" we looked up the word "blasts" on Google News to see what we'd come up with.   We were not interested in articles on explosions, fire or any context where the word was correctly used; only to describe one person or entity expressing verbal anger at another person or entity.

Before we begin, here are some made-up examples of what Real blasts are in terms of the context of criticism:  "Jane Jones blasted politicians as corrupt, immoral dogs"... "Sid Smith blasted golf for being called a sport, referring to it more as 'an activity for very heavy, old men'"...  And so on..

A blast, whether the opinion be correct or mistaken has some venom to it; some Bite.  Its the type of comment prone to offending both its intended recipient and those who may read and/or overhear.

OK.. now using examples from news, finance, sports and entertainment within the last week, this is how the media uses the word when writing a story:

Joe Namath Blasts New York Jets Pursuit Of Tim Tebow -- "Joe Namath offered scathing criticism of the New York Jets' decision to trade for quarterback Tim Tebow... "I do not agree with this situation... I can't agree with it... I really think it's wrong. I can't go for it." (Huffington Post)

~  That's "scathing??"
NY lawmaker blasts NJ governor on counterterror--  "New York Congressman Peter King says New Jersey's governor should show more gratitude toward the New York City Police Department for its counterterrorism work... "I think, in this case, Governor Christie was letting his personal feelings get in the way of protecting us against terrorism... He should be welcoming New York City and anyone else who wants to come in or out of his state, work with them and cooperate with them.." (AP)

~ This is not a 'blast'- its mild criticism mixed with suggestion

Arnold Palmer blasts absent stars -- "The Arnold Palmer Invitational is scheduled to begin on Thursday at Bay Hill... but (some) of the world's top six, have opted not to take up the invitation to play, "I'm disappointed they are not here" the seven-time major winner told reporters." (Clubcall.com)

~ You kidding me? Expressing disappointment is now a 'blast'?!

All this may seem quite trivial but understand the bigger picture- if the media is willing to go out of its way to sensationalize and distort harmless, trivial news blurbs to give appearance of something which is not,  imagine how they treat information that is truly important and relevant to your lives.
Every super-rosy pollyanna word or phrase written or spoken to convey an "Emperor With No Clothes" faux-recovery..  Every over-optimistic bombastic pronouncement..  its the same.  Its why its so vital when you read mainstream news that you have an understanding of the topic beforehand so you can sift through the distortion.

We stopped at 3 examples of using the word 'blast' incorrectly because one does not need 100 examples when 3 suffices.  However, we did run across one headline which correctly and accurately used the word "blast" as it was meant...

Trump blasts O'Donnell after show axe  -- "Rosie O'Donnell's chat show on TV titan Oprah Winfrey's OWN network was axed on Friday after a five-month-run... Not surprisingly, Trump was chomping at the bit to crow about the show's abrupt demise.

"Well, I always knew that Oprah was smart... Frankly, that was just going to happen. I knew it immediately as soon as they announced it. Rosie fails at everything. She had a variety show that failed.... Somebody else, some moron, will come and hire her again to do something else, and that will fail. At some point, let her rest. Let her go away."" (AP)

Mmm.. See boys and girls... That's how you 'Blast' someone