For the blacklist

Casey Crookham shares:

Thanks for this forum to let me vent, my wife is tired of hearing me bitch about something I have no control of. Here are some of my pet peeves I hear on the news channels as reporters try to fill time and try to sound intelligent.

  • “if you will”: Broadcasters seemingly use this phrase to soften a colorful or slang phrase, that otherwise would have great impact, in order to sound educated or worldly. In my opinion, it makes them sound mealey-mouthed and pompous. It is interesting that when interviewee uses this phrase, theywill no doubt repeat at least once more during the segment.
  • “the ‘so called’ black boxî: Every time a plane crash occurs and NTSB crews search for the Flight Data Recorder or Cockpit Voice Recorder, a reporter refers to them as “the so called black boxesî. Since the accurate names of these devices are so self explanatory, and much publicity has been made that they are not painted black, why do these idiot reporters perpetuate this trite, inaccurate expression?
  • “Routine training mission” or îroutine traffic stopî: I seem to never hear these phrases without the world “routine” at the beginning. I doubt anyone in military leadership would refer to any training mission as routine, they all have an objective and challenges. Police trainers are constantly emphasizing to recruits to have a high level of awareness on any traffic stop and none are routine.

Other unnecessarily wordy phrases:

  • “first and foremost”
  • “way, shape or form”

3 thoughts on “For the blacklist

  1. With regard to “routine,” I remember watching the CBS Morning News one day thirty-two years ago and hearing Hughes Rudd refer to something that had happened during what the Pentagon had described as a “routine B-52 raid.” At the end of the item, Rudd looked up and said, “There is nothing routine about a B-52 raid. From a mile away it looks like the end of the world; if you happen to be any closer than a mile away, it is the end of the world.” I knew even then that I would never, ever forget that moment nor how perfectly it illustrated the power of effective use of our language.

  2. I often get a kick out the stock phrases that news media often rely on when presenting a story.

    Years ago there was “The Troubled Space Station Mir”, which the media used with such frequency, one might think it was the official name.

    Another instance was Yassir Arafat’s “Battered Compound in Ramallah”.

    I’ve recently noticed another one… “disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff”.

    If you Google that exact phrase, you get about 156,000 search hits.

  3. I can’t believe no one has nominated “at the end of the day.” Bottom line: it’s done – stick a fork in it. (Why does anyone think that one makes any sense, anyway? You stick a fork in things to find out if they are done. If you already know it, why stick the fork?)