I'm worried about the Examiner... 's

Normally, I try not to be an officer for the Typo Police. I've certainly had my share of typos and John Ritter-esque misunderstandings while writing this blog. But these things happen when you don't have an editor. An extra set of eyeballs or three can help catch errors and fix up confusing... um... writing... segments.

The Washington Examiner, conversely, does have editors. Unless they've had to cut back already; as noted by the media column in the City Paper last week, the Ex appears to be having issues selling its back page. Perhaps Anschutz is finding out that starting a pandering right-wing rag in order to win influence among Congressmen, a la True Father's own billions-losing Times, isn't as easy as it looks.

Whatever the reason, things are getting awfully sloppy on the pages of the free tabloid. For example, from today's paper:

Comcast SportsNet suing of The Orioles, Major League Baseball, and the newly formed Mid Atlantic Sports Network, could be a very good thing for fans of the Washington National's.
OK, well... National-apostrophe-s. Common mistake. How about moving that apostrophe-s to after the word "SportsNet". And the "The" before "Orioles" shouldn't be capitalized.

Whatever, again, this is highly nit-picky. But that's a pretty ugly first sentence. Not only does it appear in the paper that way, but they didn't even bother to fix the web copy. Another random example: this article about the Nats' new stadium announcer spells his name wrong throughout. Everybody else got it right.

Oh, but it gets better. Especially on the editorial page. If you're going to pander to the anti-environmentalists, I guess sloppiness doesn't matter.

Predictable as the sunrise, President Bush has nominated a new chief for the Environmental Protection Agency and a Democratic senator has put a hold on the nomination over some esoteric dispute about information sharing.
Typical of this editorial, none of the details are filled in: the actual names of the nominee (Stephen Johnson) and the senator (Thomas Carper) are never mentioned.

The American public was long ago bamboozled into thinking the air and water are getting dirtier, that U.S. industry is poisoning us all and the only way to do anything is to follow the pied piper's of the environmental movement.
Oh dear, it's that pesky 's again. Not to mention that nothing's presented to prove that we've been "bamboozled" in the way of public opinion polls or scientific data about the environment. This entire thing is basically, "This is how I imagine the world to be. Just go with it."

Polling over the past decade has shown three things pretty consistently: first, that the public thinks the environment is ever more in dange:
Yes, "in dange".

The first of these is patently untrue. Every measure we have of environmental health in the United States is improving. There's more forestland and parkland, and less air pollution of just about every kind. Endangered species like wolves and eagles are doing better.
Yay, everything's fixed! You know what that means: time to fuck it up again.

The only way environmentalists keep the direct-mail spigots going is by moving the goalposts (for blood lead in children) [sic] or inventing new crises like global warming.
Sadly, this dismissive "you made it up" attitude about global warming mirrors what happened to another environmental scientist from long ago.


And honestly, shouldn't something like "blood lead in children," whatever that means, be considered a serious problem? It sure doesn't sound good.

And remember that part about the public thinking environmental problems are getting worse? Well, why doesn't the Bush administration start asking why things are going to hell in a handbasket instead of fighting the impossible battle to explain that things are getting better?

Whose laws have failed? Why, the command-and-control, regulate-everything-to-death programs of the 1960s and 1970s. They need to be replaced by modern laws that are flexible and use the lessons we've learned as we've deregulated our economy and seen the collapse of government-run economies in Eastern Europe.

If all these programs - fought for every step of the way by our wonderful environmental lobby - have failed to protect the environment as those same environmentalists do ever day, isn't it time someone was held accountable? Isn't it time we tried something new?
Err... but you just said that everything was going really well and improving, Examiner. I took your word for it! So... I think what you're saying is that Bush should pretend that things aren't improving, and use that as an excuse to impose more "flexible" policies. Which, you know, he's already done, if by "flexible" you mean "non-existent".

On the day President Bush and his allies start asking those questions and proposing broad and aggressive plans for revamping environmental laws to lower the burden on business by granting flexibility at the same time Bush proposes raising standards to make environmental laws actually successful, it is the environmentalists who'll have to spend their time explaining that the environment is cleaner and that all the laws have been working.
Wait... trying to follow the logic... and... no. I can't do it. I have no idea what they are trying to say.

Unfortunately, I think I have a singularly personal insight into why this piece is such a mess. I think I probably know who wrote it.

Because I think that's the same Examiner staff member who sent me an e-mail after I complained about the anti-cable editoral a couple weeks back.

You'll recall that I said: "[A] la carte programming would be nice. But the angle the Examiner takes is what pissed me off: 'succumb to our Christian will, or face the wrath of the FCC.'"

The e-mailed response I received said:

Subject: Love your blog
From: "David Mastio"

Are edit didn't endorse the regulation of cable, just the motive behind
I hope we get cable channel choice and then the motive dies down.

David Mastio
Editorial Page Editor
The Washington Examiner
(703) [xxx-xxxx]
OK... well, those are English words. However, when strung together in that particular order, they don't form a coherent sentence.

Wow. Look, I don't really like doing this. For all I know, this is a spoofed e-mail that didn't really come from David Mastio (although it sure looks authentic). More importantly, it's not especially fair to eviscerate specific individuals, who aren't public figures, in a forum where they don't have a chance to defend themselves.

Unless they really deserve it.

And, if you Google his name for five minutes, you'll see that Mastio has basically been on a one-man reporting crusade for the past several years against any and all environmental regulations placed on industry. Apparently, that crusade hasn't ended, even now that the EPA, under Bush, has basically descended into self-parody.

So, there you go. Sorry to be so nasty, David, simply because your quest to provide fuel for the anti-environmental types happens to conflict with my specific political beliefs. But I'm sure you'll be fine, as there's a fantastic market here in Washington for people who are willing to be conservtive mouthpieces. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and look on the bright side: you're a professional writer, and I'm not.

... 's.

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