Thursday, March 02, 2006

All it takes is an ill-considered adjective... order to abandon reporting in favor of editorializing.

Today's object of scrutiny is the article on the Legislature page, headlined "Bill condemns funeral pickets."

What we have here is another Phelps story (why must it so often be). This is today's item about the legislature's draft resolution, denouncing his message. I should probably get it off my chest that I think Phelps is an ass...Phelps is wrong...I won't shed a tear when someone veers off the road to turn him into a speedbump...that I understand the contexts in which he leverages his hatred for maximum effect, etc., etc.

I should also give you my standard civil-libertarian boilerplate about despising everything he stands for while defending his right to stand for it.

As such, I think this resolution is poorly-conceived and well-meaning at best, and unconstitutional, cynical ass-covering by our political class at worst. I don't believe the imprimatur of government should be used to condemn any constitutionally protected speach.

With that off my chest, back to the article...

In the fifth graf, Ric Anderson writes:
"The resolution came days after the Senate approved a watered-down version of a bill originally designed to create a protest buffer extending 300 feet from the entrance to a mortuary, church or cemetery where a funeral is conducted."
There are many, less loaded adjectives that could have been used in place of "watered-down" to express the idea that the bill had to be modified to satisfy whatever concerns needed to be satisfied in order for the Senate to pass the measure.

"Watered-down" indicates a diminishment and as such, reads like a value judgement. As soon as there is room in story copy for value judgements, it's an op-ed piece.



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