Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Subtle and weird cohesion

My father's semi-local newspaper (it's from Knoxville), which has just been bought by Gannet and so will be much less local very soon now, ran a story today on that e-cig study from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that includes this:
“In theory it sounds wonderful for a lifelong smoker having a hard time quitting and not successful with nicotine patches or gum to use e-cigarettes that mimic cigarettes and are a good replacement,” Dr. Primack said. But he adds that “it’s not hard to find testimonials from people who [used e-cigarettes to] quit smoking. The potential is there for some people to derive benefit.”,” Dr. Primack said.
"But"? But?

What does Templeton (the writer) think he's contradicting here? That 'but' is outside the quotes, so it's not Primack's.

"In theory it sounds wonderful" for people to have this new tool, BUT ... what should follow is something that show it's not wonderful, something like "But it's hard to find anybody who has used it to quit." Instead, what Primack "adds" is something that is entirely congruent with the first statement: in theory it sounds wonderful AND it's not hard to find people who say it works.

I'm guessing Templeton bought the study's results.

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At 2:35 PM, October 13, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I'd chalk it up most likely to budgetary cutbacks in copy editors at the P-G. This seems to be the case at many newspapers nowadays, even the Washington Post.

At 4:44 PM, October 13, 2015 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

That'll be how it got printed, but he had to write it first!

At 1:50 PM, October 14, 2015 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

In our Internet era, reporters are even more "on deadline" than back in the days of dead-tree only news publications -- the race is on to get one's story online ASAP.

I confess to having occasionally introduced such errors into my own writing in haste (e.g., in emails), so can understand how this happened to David Templeton, a veteran P-G reporter. However, for writings and translations, I always run them past at least one other person before publishing, in order to catch things I've overlooked (and there's always at least one goof, it seems!). The problem is budgetary cutbacks on copy editors, whose job description includes correcting such gaffes.


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