Gene Maddaus of the Pasadena Star-News posits:
“This is not the first time that…” ought to be banned, along with all its variants (“He is not the first park ranger to be mauled,” etc.)
Kudos to the diligent journalist who bothers to dig up earlier
instances of the news-making phenomenon in question. But don’t
congratulate yourself by leading into the context with a coy cliche.
Readers know it’s not the first time. You are surprising no one.
Similar context set-ups probably ought to go, too. (“The park is no stranger to park ranger maulings.” “Park ranger maulings are not unheard of…” “While uncommon, park ranger maulings are nothing
Instead of saying what it isn’t, say what it is: “Several other
rangers have been mauled in the years since the park opened.”
Editors note: some of us have an outright ban on use of “several” if specific numbers are available.