Not to mention "potentially"

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

From Howard Kurtz's online discussion today:

Bellingham WA: Howard-

How does the media define "many"? Last week the coverage was"'many' school districts did not show Obama's speech to students" and/or "'many' parents kept their kids away from Obama's speech". When did a relatively few school districts, mostly in the South become "many"? When did a few, mostly southern, mostly white parents become "many"? Why was no mention made of the thousands of districts and millions of parents who looked forward to the speech and willingly allowed their children to see it? Thanks

Howard Kurtz: "Many" is a great journalistic dodge, second only to "some." But it is hard if not impossible to quantify something that involves, say, thousands of school districts, or, potentially, millions of parents.

Notice how Kurtz justifies the media coverage by saying the protests involved "potentially millions of parents" -- and does so while talking about "journalistic dodges." That, of course, is precisely the role "potentially" pays in Kurtz's response.

So, what of it, Mr. Kurtz? Did millions of children stay home from school? Or just potentially millions?

The Washington Post
Howard Kurtz
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