More adjectives, more problems

I’ve written before about the dangers of adjectives, but today on Instapundit there was a link to a great example of a misused adverb.

The headline on CNN late last night apparently described Scott Walker as “narrowly defeating” Barrett.  Ultimately he beat him by 7% of the vote.

Now, some may call that narrow, but most would not.  Words like that are dangerous because they can obscure your view of the real numbers.  Other words that can skew your view are “spike” “surge” “plummeted” etc.

While all probably at least indicate the direction of the change, there is no standard for how big the change must be to use one of these words.  If possible, check the numbers first, then the headlines.

It’s better than trusting journalists.

4 thoughts on “More adjectives, more problems

  1. There is similar DC-speak for one party “controlling” the Senate. Even after the disastrous 2010 elections, Obama had about the same amount of legislative support as the Bush average, yet the narrative is that the Republicans ran the country unopposed for 8 years.


Comments are closed.