Scrambling on the battle lines

From Ian Trontz:

  • Battle lines were drawn” to describe any controversy
    (sometimes preceded by “Tempers flared”).
  • Where (insert dominant local livestock here)
    outnumber humans” to describe any rural area.
  • Scrambling.” About half the nation’s newspapers
    must have run stories following the aborted American Airlines strike
    that read, “leaving the airline scrambling.” That would
    cause a disaster the likes of which the NTSB has never seen. The word
    never again should appear outside of a football story.
  • Thoughts of brainchildren

    Sharyn Wizda proffers these peeves:

  • Describing any profile subject as “the thinking man’s (or
    woman’s) sex symbol
  • Describing somebody’s new product as his or her “brainchild.”
  • Describing any Rocky Mountain town smaller than Denver as “nestled
    at the foot of snow-capped peaks
  • In any crime story: “This close-knit community has been
    shaken by the tragedy
  • Spark, spearhead, scramble, nestle

    From Paul Bonner:

    I’ve been keeping a list. It seems to me that verbs are the part
    of speech that most often become hackneyed in newswriting. I think
    it must be to cover up the lack of any concrete action in most stories:

  • spark (as in: “The commissioner’s action sparked a lively
    debate among those who signed up to speak at the meeting.”)
  • spearhead (as in: “Pfalphzer spearheaded the fund-raising
  • ax (as in: “The item was axed from the budget”)
  • tapped (for “chosen,” as in: “Klutzwater was tapped
    for the position.”)
  • scramble (as in: “Officials were left scrambling. …”)
  • nestle (as in: “Nestled between a railroad trestle and
    a gulch, the seedy cafe makes what must surely be its last stand.”)