Monthly Archives: November 2018

Today’s example of passive-voice propaganda

Don’t they teach you in Journalism 101 to use passive voice sparingly?  Even Fleet Street tabloids are supposed to know this.  From an article in the U.K. Mirror, “Fury over rare white lion being auctioned off ‘to be shot by trophy hunters'”:

The majestic animal, named Mufasa, was confiscated three years ago when he was a cub, along with another baby lion called Soraya.

Named by whom?  Confiscated by whom, from whom?

This is a case not just of bad writing, but rather of the typical journalistic practice of obscuring facts to shape the reader’s opinion, i.e., propaganda.

The article goes on to say that the government department with custody of the animal, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs, will auction it to raise money for, presumably, environmental affairs.  (Of course, this is South Africa, so who knows where  the money will go.)  Various celebrities and busybodies are crying foul and using their usual tactics—courts, petitions, and the media—t0 force the lion into a wildlife sanctuary.

We are shocked that the obvious market solution has apparently not occurred to the campaigners:  if they are so passionate about the animal’s welfare, why not raise money themselves to win the auction and then donate their prize to the sanctuary?

 

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