Why Such Poor Writing?

Time and again, I feel taken aback by how poorly these highly paid journalists write. Look at the highlighted sentence. Who writes like this? “Except because” is how my 6-year-old speaks. Cute, childish, but not appropriate for a serious argument. In “so outdated,” the “so” part shouldn’t be there. Either explain “so outdated as what?” or simply say “outdated.”

Another problem – and this is probably the worst issue with this extremely tortured sentence – is the use of “therefore.” There’s absolutely no observable connection between outdated and unfair. I have outdated shoes. That doesn’t make them unfair. Unless you can prove a logical connection (e.g. the tomato is rotten and therefore inedible), you can’t use ‘therefore.’

This is a 10-word sentence, and it’s a mess. And there are many other problems in this tiny excerpt. “Involves how she” sounds tortured. Why not simply say “is that”? 70% do not constitute “almost every case.” “Latest statistics” is clumsy and vague.

Curiously, the only readable part of the excerpt is the quote from Hawley that the article tries to rebut.

Of course, this isn’t accidental. The task of the writer is to sneak by the reader inexistent logical connections and specious arguments. The author of the article has no argument to offer in response to Hawley’s charges. This uncomfortable reality has to be hidden in a mountain of fake “so” and “therefore.”

5 thoughts on “Why Such Poor Writing?

  1. Thank you – I knew there was something very wrong with this article, but I couldn’t articulate it. This isn’t the first incredibly stupid and amoral editorial the Washington Post has published, but this is a new low even for them.


  2. My god, it would be so much better as “Judges do this in seventy percent of cases (source).” And even that isn’t the best sentence possible. Do they no longer have editors?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Do they no longer have editors?”

      Maybe apart from everything else they edit on screen rather than hard print outs? I can look at something on screen 18 times and miss things that jump out at you when printed….


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