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WEASEL WORDS.
(When our friends are attacked, we cannot stay quiet. Jack & Misty)

If you think this is hard to understand,
you should see the original article.
It's a newsletter I got from several directions...
a long and sensational accusation of murder and mayhem.
It names names,
very carefully.

Heavy use is made of
what we in the writing game call "weasel words".
These are disclaimers that protect the writers,
and allow them to say things without taking responsibility.
The Enquirer, the Globe, and other tabloids use them.

Weasel phrases are usually buried cleverly
in a bunch extravagant claims,
like the side effects in a drug commercial.

To save you the trouble,
I dug the weasels out and threw the rest away.
It's interesting what's left.

The notes in parentheses are mine.
The weasel phrases are hilighted.
I've changed none of the writer's words,
and have made no attempt to correct grammar or punctuation.

They fire accusations from behind a giant weasel.

    *    *    *

Well, Known Nashville Promoter
Dies Suddenly Without Explanation.
(He died of liver failure.)

He died unexpectedly...
(He'd been very sick for several years.)

As of this writing,
the cause of death is still unknown. (?)

...was rumored to be...
...numerous accusations...
...but nothing was proven.
...It remains unsolved.
...No charges have been filed.
...appears to be...
...unproven accusations...
... reputedly...
...If enough evidence is gathered ...
...Music Row rumor states...
...Music industry people speculate...
...may have been poisoned or otherwise murdered...
... was not convicted...
...has never been charged, tried, or convicted...
...The Attorney General's office has not issued a statement...
... no apparent motive...
...without solid evidence...

a Grand Jury cannot and should not indict him.
...the man is innocent; until proven guilty.
Such speculation serves no purpose.

    *    *    *

It kind of loses its punch, doesn't it?

Jack Blanchard

Copyright © January 8, 2002 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.

 

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