Editorial: Words matter
Words can and do make a difference. We and many other “wordsmiths” spend a lot of time and effort in writing our stories where they accurately portray the subject and the issue at hand.
The language we use should be fair and objective and be appropriate for the occasion.
We had a recent column decrying the fact that under orders of the Obama administration, many national parks and other places were barricaded shut. Many people — including many veterans of World War II and Korea — were offended that they could not easily visit memorials in their honor.
And yet, the headline on a column last week gave some people the mistaken impression that President Barack Obama was being compared to a couple of evil dictators from World War II.
The intent of the columnist was to illustrate that the members of the “Greatest Generation” stood up to the horrors of war. Even though they are now in their 80s and 90s, they weren’t going to let barricades keep them out after storming machine gun nests and surviving bullets, bombs and torpedoes.
While we got it that the intent of the headline was to be supportive of the vets, we should have been more aware that some people may have interpreted it as comparing Obama to Hitler and Mussolini. That was not the intent.
We should have realized that was a possible interpretation and made it clear with a different headline.
We regret that the headline may have offended some people.
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