Thursday, September 20, 2012


Of course the big gaffe that everyone is focussing on is the current one . . . that supposedly 47 percent of US citizens don't pay taxes and only budge on the ones that do.

But there was an earlier gaffe, that US columnist Gail Collins nails here.


I'm putting this up in the hope that some of my Reporting students might read it as an example of the way an experienced columnist deals with the issue we were talking about in the tut: the violence displayed as a result of the release of the anti-Muslim film trailer in the US.

This is a brilliant example of the difference between news and features. Look at the way she begins. It's informal and colloquial. Then consider the way she provides bite sized elements of news in order to build up her case. Then the conclusion. Devastating.

The next column, also from the NYT isn't as amusing as a normal Dowd piece but it takes the reader behind the news to inform them about why particular incidents are happening. It's a good example of a column moving beyond the news.

This is another, more recent Dowd piece, where she gets her acid out.

The final example, also from NYT by David Brooks, is brilliant. It demonstrates the role of an opinion columnist in moving beyond the news and exposing hypocrisy. Again, its the why, but this time with a question mark added. Why? Can this guy be serious?

This piece is so good it is reprinted in today's Fin.

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