Election coverage is fast-paced. I get that. But there’s always time to double-check what you’ve written. Unfortunately, many in the national media have been sloppier than normal this year. What’s particularly disturbing to me is when I see wrong words in Associated Press stories, given that the AP once set the standard for excellence.
Take an August 22 story on social media posts by Trump staffers that included this sentence: “During Myers’ work for Mitt Romney in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, she said, social media was newer, so indiscrete or embarrassing photos were more often concerns than inflammatory views.” The word the writer should have used was “indiscreet,” which refers to behavior that’s not as careful as it should be. I’m not even sure that “indiscrete” is word, but if it is, since “discrete” means “separate,” I’d assume it means “combined.”
Nine days later, an AP post about Trump’s upcoming visit to Mexico included this line: “It’s a defining issue for Trump, but one on which he has appeared to waiver.” The correct form of the word is “waver,” meaning to show uncertainty. A “waiver” is some kind of free pass, but I won’t give one to AP. They should know better.
Of course, gaffes aren’t limited to the media. I’m usually impressed with the services offered by the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, particularly the self-service features on the office’s website. But I have to wonder if the recent update to the site was performed in a third-world country. After I updated my profile to indicate that I’m connected with a non-profit, up popped this message: “You have successfully following the business.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s not in English. Another irritant: while the site is pretty comprehensive, if you encounter a problem (as I did), your contact options are limited to a phone call with a long on-hold time or a mailing address.