Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sensational Journalism

By Jose Carillo
Apart from being grammatically correct, news stories in any language need to be factually and logically told at all times. We thus expect reporters and their editors to avoid irrelevant imagery and rhetorical flourishes that could distort the facts and give the wrong impression to readers. But this caveat was obviously violated in the case of this lead sentence of a recent news story about a small-plane crash: "Amid the exodus of Philippine Airlines pilots, a student pilot and his instructor were injured yesterday morning when a two-seater Cessna 152 trainer airplane crashed while landing at the Loakan Airport here." Is there really a logical or circumstantial correlation, no matter how thin and specious, between the crash of that trainer airplane and the "exodus" of the airline pilots? Or was the newspaper just engaging in sensational journalism? My critique of this particularly instructive case of language misuse leads off My Media English Watch in Jose Carillo's English Forum this week, and I invite you to compare your reactions with mine to this shoddy type of English exposition.