Monday, December 18, 2006


I wanted to highlight what I think is a pretty good example of how the current obedience to the odd conventions of modern journalism creates some really crappy writing. So, in the middle of the article about the American detained in Iraq, we get this:

A spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s detention operations in Iraq, First Lt. Lea Ann Fracasso, said in written answers to questions that the men had been “treated fair and humanely,” and that there was no record of either man complaining about their treatment.

Now, the reporter lets this comment stand without any response. The smart reader, of course, will note its Kafkaesque absurdity. They didn't have access to attorneys. They were placed in solitary confinement. They were in cold cells, with fluorescent lights left on all night.

And First Lt. Lea Ann Fracasso is suggesting she checked with the Complaints Department, and found nothing, so there's nothing to see here.

Overall it's an excellent well-reported story, and the smart reader who reads all the way through will understand what an absurd statement this is. Still, later today, if Rush Limbaugh decides to talk about this story he'll say "But they guy didn't even complain!!!"