Whoa, WSJ

It took me a couple passes to read this and wonder if the Wall Street Journal’s journalistic standards have fallen below the “write parseable sentences” level:

The dossier contains lurid and hard-to-prove allegations. The FBI has found no evidence, for example, supporting the dossier’s its claim that an attorney for Mr. Trump went to the Czech Republic to meet Kremlin officials, U.S. officials said. The attorney has also denied the claim.[WSJ]

This is not a language flame. I am not attempting to elevate my own writing (about which I have no illusions) by criticizing the Wall Street Journal. On the other hand, I have no editor here, and am not passing myself off as a journalist working for a venerable news outlet (though FtB is venerable in internet years). I understand that identifying a scrambled sentence in a publication does not equate to a refutation of the article.

I just wish they’d turn the error-rate down in their story-writing AI. No doubt it’s just that, pressured by cheaper new media, the Wall Street Journal can’t afford to have someone proof-read articles, anymore. Someone wrote that sentence who was high on stress, low on coffee, and running out of time.




  1. says

    I diagnose not enough sleep, and way too little coffee or tea. That looks my writing on *those* mornings. There are definitely times I could do with a handy editor.

  2. says

    Amen. I do about 10 reviews on every posting, including a dramatic reading (ok i may be kidding about that) to make sure it flows. And I still make mistakes.

    I don’t know how that sentence made it through a single review, though. It hurts my brain.

  3. says

    Looks to me like the author first wrote “The FBI has found no evidence[…] supporting its claim that…” and then noticed that “its” is ambiguous, looking like it might refer to “The FBI” earlier in the sentence. So they changed it to “the dossier’s” instead, but forgot to delete the “its”.  That’s a really common mistake I see all the time.

  4. jrkrideau says

    I clearly am missing something. The report said “The FBI found nothing” .

    What am I missing?