Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Did a Washington Post Metro section reporter 'blow' it?


In a front-page Metro section story in today's Washington Post about the possible candidates lining up to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), we find this paragraph:
Former governor Martin O’Malley (D) remained mum, but there was speculation he could shift his ambitions from a long-shot presidential bid to a race that would be more easily winnable. Associates of former lieutenant governor Anthony G. Brown (D), who lost last year’s governor’s race, put out the word that he is “seriously considering” a Senate bid.
In the print edition, under the headline "A swarm of suitors for Senate vacancy," Post reporter John Wagner did not say Anthony Brown "lost" the 2014 gubernatorial race, but rather that Brown "blew" it. (See illustration below.)

How did such a judgmental word choice make it past the Metro copy desk? While a pundit might say, with some justification, that the former Maryland lieutenant governor "blew last year's governor's race" against Republican Larry Hogan, a straight-news reporter should avoid that kind of pejorative language.

Good for the Post's online editorial team for correcting this questionable word choice -- but the print edition's copy editors deserve whatever egg lands on their faces.

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