Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

June 5, 2004

by V

Kerryisms II

I rarely read, let alone recommend, Eugene Volokh's site (he still wastes space on Tyler "Secretly, you WANT telemarketers to call you... denying it just means you're too proud to ADMIT it!" Cowen... nuff said), but yesterday he provided a worthwhile, more extensive critique of Slate's lame "Kerryisms" feature. Curiously, he doesn't bother to mention their author by name... Psst! It's William Saletan.

The Volokh Conspiracy - EDITING
The column .. purports to use these "caveats and embellishments" as evidence of Kerry's "pomposity and evasiveness", but that works chiefly to the extent that the proposed edits work. After all, if it turns out that the editing removes necessary provisos (and not "pointless embellishments"), then this suggests that the original is actually not so bad -- rightly cautious rather than evasive.

What's more, Slate, like many magazines, is itself also largely about editing...

It's remarkable, then, how bad the editing in the Kerryisms really is. The Kerryisms author strips away necessary material, not just the "pointless embellishments." In the process, he substantially changes the original author's meaning; this often leads to the result's conveying something the original author doesn't want to convey (something authors rightly hate). At the same time, the Kerryisms author often omits other edits he should be making. And he makes all these mistakes with a smug, self-satisfied tone that leads the errors to just be more annoying.
Bingo. He follows with an example, which handily demonstrates the thesis.
Posted by V at June 5, 2004 12:38 PM

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