Saturday, December 27, 2008

UPDATE: Kennedy No Longer "Eloquent But Elusive." She's Now "Forceful But Elusive."

Less than two hours after posting its interview with Caroline Kennedy under the headline, "As A Candidate, Kennedy Is Eloquent but Elusive," the Times has had second thoughts about her eloquence.

Its freshly-revised headline now reads: "As A Candidate, Kennedy Is Forceful but Elusive."

In the third paragraph of the story, the word "eloquent" has also been removed, and the word "forceful" has been substituted. It now describes Kennedy as "forceful but vague, largely undefined and seemingly determined to remain that way."

It's a fascinating editorial change that underscores the harsh tone of the story, and reflects the highly subjective nature of journalism. It also raises an interesting question: were reporters David M. Halbfinger and Nicholas Confessore overruled by editors in their assessment of Kennedy as "eloquent," or did they reconsider their own opinion?

Which was she, eloquent or forceful? You make the call!

eloquent: "expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively."

forceful: "characterized by or full of force or strength (often but not necessarily physical); powerful.

5 comments:

MisterHippity said...

They changed the headline because of this article posted on Gawker.com (by Sheila McClear): http://gawker.com/5119062/how-many-times-can-caroline-kennedy-say-you-know-in-under-a-minute

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, I seriously doubt that.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the little ones got a hold of Mommy and Daddy's computer.

MisterHippity said...

Why do you "seriously doubt that"?

The Gawker piece went up at 3 pm, and mocked the Times for using the word "eloquent" to describe an interview in which Kennedy said "you know" 12 times in the span of 60 seconds (in the first sound clip attached to the NYT article). That Gawker post got over a thousand page view in the first hour it was posted.

Then, within an hour of Gawker posting that, the NYT headline was changed to remove the word "eloquent."

I suppose it's possible that's just a coincidence, but it's hardly likely.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hippity reminds me of the old joke about the sleeping elephant and the horny mouse.