More Media Mishaps

Yet more questionable snippets from the media and nearby: 

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(http://www.labour.org.uk/central/home)  [Why has "your" instead of "you're" suddenly spread like an epidemic?]

We gave the impression that the Citroën C1 is presently exempted from the London congestion charge.
(The low-carbon motorist, page 8, Budget report, yesterday.  Guardian, Corrections and clarifications, 14 March 2008.)
[Guardian Style Guide: "presently means soon, not at present"]

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said last night … "…That is why one of the many things we are consulting on are obligations around air quality which we agreed with other government departments…."  (Guardian, 13 March 08)
[One of the things are?  Obligations around air quality?  what exactly did we agree with other departments — consulting, obligations, air quality?] 

[H]ermits are making a come-back in Italy…  The majority [are] former clergy or missionaries.  "The number of women reflects the amount of ex-nuns who have sought out a degree of autonomy in life that they could not find before," said Turina [a sociologist at the university of Bologna].  "Some are equipped with internet, which doesn't necessarily disqualify you," said Turina. "It's like meeting people.  You do it within a spiritual framework."
(Guardian, Laptops but no beards for new hermits in Italy, 13 March 08.)
["The amount of ex-nuns" is a phrase that must have sounded better, or at any rate less hilarious, in Italian. It suggests that the ex-nuns were all weighed together on an enormous set of scales, each presumably with her laptop.  But the rest of the story is to be treasured, too.]

Mr Obama predicted that the Republicans will attack whomever becomes the nominee…
(Times, 17 Apr 07  'Obama grilled over patriotism and links to militant') 

Accordingly, she advised that caution should be exercised when considering the views of he who had uttered the threat… 
(para 27, Judgment of Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Sullivan in BAE fraud investigation case, High Court, 10 April 08 
http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/pdfs/bae_judgment_10.4.08.pdf)

"Gordon Brown kicks off his three-day state visit by appearing on breakfast television"
(Caption to Guardian photograph of Gordon Brown on official visit to the United States, 17 April 08)
"The pope is greeted at a Maryland air force base by President George Bush ahead of his six-day visit" (Caption to Guardian photograph of the pope on his state visit to the United States, 17 April 08)
[A contrast in celebrity welcomes!]

No one thinks, having seen the results at polling stations, that President Mugabe has won this election. A stolen election would not be a democratic election at all. As the general secretary has said, the credibility of the democratic process depends on there being a legitimate government.  (Gordon Brown, UN Security Council, 16 Apr 08, in clip shown repeatedly on television news bulletins: see (and hear) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7351105.stm.)

but:

No one thinks, having seen the results at polling stations, that President Mugabe has won this election. A stolen election would not be a democratic election at all. As the secretary-general has said, the credibility of the democratic process depends on there being a legitimate government. 
(Gordon Brown, UN Security Council  16 April 2008, text on No. 10 Downing Street website   http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page15286.asp)

and:

There will be a meeting of the South African ministers this weekend.  They will discuss whether the democratic principles have been upheld and will report on that. The General Secretary of the United Nations, the Secretary General has now announced that he's prepared to offer the officers of the United Nations to help. 
(Gordon Brown, interview with Nick Robinson, BBC political correspondent, 17 Apr 08  http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view=PressR&id=3125802) (Emphases added) 

[Robert Wardle, head of the Serious Fraud Office] also wants new offences of "false accounting".  Observers think that these may have been quicker in catching companies such as BAE, …
(David Leigh, G2, Guardian, 18 April 08 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/18/bae.armstrade)
["May" have been?  Well, were they, or weren't they? (And see 'comments', below.)]

We have a disturbing report from Tanzania, where witchdoctors are peddaling the myth that possession of a potion made of an albino's hair, blood or limbs paves the way to riches.  (Newsnight daily e-mail, 22 July 2008, Gavin Esler.)
[Witchdoctors on bikes are a charming thought.  Perhaps they have laptops, too, like the ex-nuns?]

In the past six months, it has become patently clear people see in him whatever they want to see. After being told his parents' race and nationality, more than half (55%) of white people said he was biracial while two-thirds of African-Americans said he was black, according to a Zogby poll. A New York Times poll last week showed two-thirds of black people believe he is very patriotic while one in five whites believe he is not very patriotic. 
(Gary Younge, Guardian, 21 July 08, "People see in Obama what they want to see – that's a blessing and a curse"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/21/barackobama.uselections2008)
[It seems that (leaving aside the "Don't Knows"), 66% of black people and 80% of whites think he's patriotic, which I ungenerously suspect is the opposite of what Mr Younge is trying to tell us, if it means anything at all.] 

A vibrant media, although under threat from many sides, also exist.  (Observer, main editorial, 20 July 08)
[I know, whether media is or are singular or plural is — are? — a little tricky, so the safest thing is to make it both, as here.]

When you see this generation en masse there seem good reasons to argue that in the main, our society is robust, tolerant and works pretty well.  (Henry Porter, Observer, 13 July 08). 
[Trouble with lists again:  I suspect that some cloth-eared Observer sub-editor may have removed the indispensable 'and' after 'robust', thus incurring poor Henry's wrath, no doubt.  That sub-editor is dim, illiterate and ought to look for different work.]

As the Tories roared, I was reminded of the Thurber cartoon in which a fencer neatly slices off his opponent's head, with a cry of "Touché!" The joke is that the other fellow simply doesn't realise what has happened.  (Simon Hoggart 18 Mar 08 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/18/houseofcommons.gordonbrown)
[No, that isn't the joke, Simon. Anyway —
'In fencing, touché (French: touched) is used as an acknowledgement of a hit, called out by the fencer who is hit' — Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch%C3%A9 (emphasis added)]

Practise makes perfect.  (Andrew Rawnsley, Observer, 27 July 08)

…the procedures … provide a means to allow practitioners to show they practice in line with the requirements of the national occupation standards for nutritional therapy…
(Mike O'Farrell, CEO, British Acupuncture Council, letters, Guardian, 28 July 08)

The Soya Protein Association refutes your article.  (Letter, Guardian, 26 July 08). 
[The letter advances counter-arguments to those in the Guardian's earlier article but does not 'refute' it.]

[Shriti] Vadera refutes the idea that business has fallen out of love with Labour  (David Teather, profile of Shriti Vadera, Guardian, 26 July 08) 
[No, she doesn't.]

Still they come! 

Brian 

2 Responses

  1. Peter Harvey says:

    "The number of women reflects the amount of ex-nuns who have sought out a degree of autonomy in life that they could not find before … Some are equipped with internet …

    I can’t be sure about Italian but if it is like Spanish (which I think probable) this is understandable. In Spanish the word cantidad (quantity) can be used with countable nouns. Also, in Spanish internet has no article — it is a place not a thing.

    But having said that, something has gone wrong with the translation and/or editing if this appears in print in English.

  2. Tim Weakley says:

    "Observers think that these [presumably the new offences whose definition is desirable] may have been quicker in catching companies such as BAE". 

    'Might', certainly.  Besides, aren't errant companies caught by the investigatory authorities such as the SFO, rather than by the offences?

    Brian writes:  Absolutely!  The more you look at this, the worse it looks. 

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