Karl Witter sent this voluminous list of suggestions along:
The intrepid reporter standing at a beach’s high-water mark in the onslaught of a hurricane or other coastal storm. I’m waiting to see a wave crashing over the reporter, and, after subsiding, the
camera op reeling in a snapped cable with no mic or reporter attached.
The transitional bantering in which news anchors, meteorologists and sports anchors appear on screen together for several seconds.
Banned words (not including spillover from the corporate lexicon):
“And you’re not going to believe this…”, “Get
ready for this…”, or similar, prefacing a TV news story which
will shock us with needlessly tragic human suffering or bureaucratic
“Grow” as a verb done by the subject to the object. One grows neither the economy nor a dog. One can feed a puppy, house-train it, and take it to the vet. Then it grows. “Random violence” isn’t; lightning is. The phrase
seems to have been invented for contemporary street and blue-collar
crimes, and gangs. Old-fashioned American shootouts, from the Old
West to the Roaring Twenties, needed no such distinction for the accidental
shooting of non-involved bystanders.
“The mother of all…” is this decade’s mother
of all cliches.
“Abortion clinic,” “abortion doctor“. Hmm…nobody’s called John Salvi’s victims “abortion receptionists” yet. Hey, I’m just glad the press hasn’t adapted the right-to-lifers’ terminology and started calling women’s health clinics “fetus
farms”! (Half-kidding but barely.)
“xxx-ly correct” when one really means “just
plain accurate and right.” Included uses of note are geographically
correct, historically correct, and, the winning stretch-of-phrase,
“Politically correct” applied ex-post-facto to
anything. Someday a journalist will describe the Underground Railroad,
the Pure Food and Drug Act, or the Taylor Act as “P.C.”
Actually, “politically correct” is a “feely” word
with no definition anymore. Restrain its use to the original higher-education
meaning and trash it in other arenas.