Half-arsed hyperboles are one of the worst things ever

Recently on ABC TV, newsreader Jeremy Fernandes referred to Nelson Mandela’s memorial service as “What’s thought to be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in South Africa’s history”. This hyperbolic vagueness is nothing out of the ordinary. Our language harbours a growing cancer of over-the-top uncertainty.

Relax, our nation’s bacon supplies are safe

The story circulating the world about a looming crisis in the bacon supply has turned out to be a load of porkies, just self-serving propaganda by the British National Pig Association. Who saw that coming? (The dead giveaway was that the media release urged consumers to  “make a point of selecting pork and bacon with the…

GST on overseas online sales: for fuck’s sake, do the maths!

New South Wales Treasurer Mike Baird has proposed lowering the GST-free threshold for online purchases from overseas from the current $1,000 to $30. This, he says, will raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional GST revenue. He claims this could pave the way for abolishing stamp duty on housing and other state taxes. Bullshit….

I keep adding things to the list, so here’s the list

People who think the phrase ‘as a mother…’ lends moral authority to anything that comes after Media outlets that invite non-scientists to ‘have your say’ on topics of scientific debate People who say ‘…[person] that…’ or ‘…[non-person] who…’ (I’m looking at you, Tyra Banks) Inbox Zero zealots who are so pleased with their efforts to…

Australian journalists can’t count, can’t think

Australian journalists often state scary-sounding statistics without taking into account the context, which usually shows that things are about the same or getting better. Is this because they’re sensationalist or stupid?

Sloppy, vague sentences are ‘the new normal’ for Australian newspapers

Australian journalists either no longer know how to write clear, concise and grammatical sentences, or they no longer care. Every day, in ever newspaper in the land, we read sloppy, vague sentences written in the passive voice with hazy attribution and bad grammar. I’m going to pick on one example in particular, but if you…

The ten types of comments on news articles

One major criticism of reality TV shows, especially in the pre-MasterChef era, was they profited from encouraging and rewarding all the worst aspects of human behaviour. I think it’s time we recognised comments on online news and opinion websites have exactly the same problem.