Thursday, 18 September 2003

Idiotic lead graf watch

Today’s winner: the Toronto Star (in fairness, they were only picked on because they were in Google News; I wasn’t planning on continuing the north-of-the-border focus):

WASHINGTON—U.S. President George W. Bush conceded for the first time yesterday that the United States had no evidence indicating Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

In related news, I concede for the first time today that I have no evidence that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez plan to get married. Or that they don’t plan to get married. Or that they ever had sex, for that matter.

Vocabulary tip of the day: concession requires the retraction of a previously-held position. For example, Andrew “008” Gilligan conceded that he “sexed up” his own reporting about the alleged “sexing up” of the British government’s mojo-riffic weapons dossier. Bill Clinton conceded that he did have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky (although not in quite so few words, or at least not without employing unusual definitions of “is”, “alone”, and “sex”). The United States conceded its claim to British Columbia. Richard Nixon conceded that the United States was no longer interested in defending South Vietnam.

Show me evidence of George Bush claiming that “Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the Sept. 11 terror attacks,” and then you can use the verb concede. Until then, you can use other language, like “reiterated” and “smacked down Dick Cheney for saying stupid things on Meet the Press.”

Then again, this is the country that gave us Alanis Morissette’s definition of “irony,” loosely translated as “anything that sucks ass.” So perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that “concede” is Canadian for “says something that contradicts something we imagined that the speaker said earlier because it would be consistent with our political belief system.”