Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hyperbole And Opinion Don't Mix

"exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
synonyms: exaggeration, overstatement, magnification, embroidery, embellishment, excess, overkill, rhetoric"

"a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
"I'm writing to voice my opinion on an issue of great importance"
synonyms: belief, judgment, thought(s), (way of) thinking, mind, (point of) view, viewpoint, outlook, attitude, stance, position, perspective, persuasion, standpoint; More
sentiment, conception, conviction
"she did not share her husband's opinion"
as I see it, to my mind, (according) to my way of thinking, personally, in my estimation, if you ask me, for my money, in my book
"in my opinion, the green tiles clash with the yellow walls"

    the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing.
    "the changing climate of opinion"
    an estimation of the quality or worth of someone or something.
    "I had a higher opinion of myself than I deserved"

On Monday the Greensboro News & Record published my letter to the editor entitled, No one commutes to Greensboro for work.

"In response to the McClatchy Regional News article posted on Jan. 2, “3 park-and-ride lots open in Brunswick County”:

Ever notice there are no Park and Ride lots as you approach Greensboro? Ever wondered why? The answer: There aren’t enough jobs in Greensboro to need them.

When will our City Council and economic development gurus take their jobs seriously?"

The title? A lie, obviously some people commute to Greensboro to work.

No park and ride lots? Another lie I proved wrong in my subsequent post, My Letter To The Editor A Flat Out Lie, in which I admonished the News & Record for printing lies.

But wait, the story got better in the News & Record comment thread when N & R Editor Doug Clark admitted:

"Yes, Billy, I knew there are park and ride lots in the area. I allowed you some hyperbole to make what I assumed was your point that there is not enough job creation in Greensboro. One can parse words to decide what you meant about no park and ride lots as you "approach" Greensboro. Does that mean on the immediate outskirts of the city as opposed to in neighboring cities? At any rate, if there is a "lie" here, it is yours."

The problem for Doug is that hyperbole is not meant to be taken literally but many people do take opinions very literally. Very literally indeed. And when a newspaper prints what its editors claim to be is hyperbole in the opinion section of the paper there is always the risk it could be taken quite seriously. Doug also writes:

" I took the letter as hyperbole. Even the headline, "No one commutes to work in Greensboro," is hyperbole. I commute to work in Greensboro. The headline is false per se, unless you mean it in the sense that we ought to have more people commuting to work in Greensboro. But I guess I was giving Billy too much credit."

Now this is where it gets really interesting. You see, while I penned the LTE, someone from the News & Record, possibly Doug Clark himself, penned the headline. I've often been accused of writing misleading headlines but flat out lies? Well it's an every day occurrence in the News & Record.

Of course, Doug would like to shift attention elsewhere:

" It seems that getting hits/attention was actually Billy's goal."

This is what people do when they have no defense. Attacking me doesn't address the mistakes made by the News & Record. You can't deflect truth, you can only address it. I lied, I admitted it. Had I not admitted it Doug Clark and the News & Record wouldn't have known they were caught. I set the News & Record up for the fall in an effort to force the N&R to raise the bar. I challenged them to raise the bar or admit defeat.

Something tells me we'll see neither.

 As proof that hyperbole and opinion don't mix I give you today's LTE, Commuters abound in Greensboro area by Ninevah Murray. Ms Murray who is the owner of Make This Yours and bakes as a hobby and a business, successfully proves my LTE wrong on every point and helps me to prove the News & Record intentionally prints lies, even going so far as to intentionally add to those lies.

To the best of my knowledge I have never met Ninevah Murray and learned what I know about her only through the Internet but it seems sad to me that she and thousands of other News & Record readers were tricked when N&R Editor Doug Clark has admitted he knew all along and then contributed to the lie that I used just to prove my point that they cannot be trusted.
If a newspaper cannot be entrusted to check the facts of even the shortest and simplest, most easy to check submissions then how can we believe anything they print to be true. You see, it really is that serious.

And Doug, I have the screen grabs-- I always have the screen grabs.

Update: Thursday morning, I just sent the following e-mail to Ms Murray via her website. I hope she understands:

"Dear Ms Murray,
I am very sorry to tell you that the News & Record editors deliberately and intentionally, and with malaise and forethought (though not likely much forethought) printed a lie in an effort to discredit me:

I have long been locked in a battle with them to try and force them to at least attempt to print the truth so I intentionally fabricated the LTE you read and responded to. Their editors knew it to be a lie and printed it anyway. I have proof online. More here:
I think it is sad we cannot depend on the N&R to at least attempt to print the truth and wonder if anything they print is real. Too often what they print is lies or too many facts are grossly ommitted.
You letter to the editor was dead-on and well written. With no way of knowing what was going on in the background you are to be commended for pointing out the truth and trying to set the record straight.
Thank you.
-Billy Jones"