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#155704 - 02/14/06 10:23 AM punt
dalehileman Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 1773
Loc: Apple Valley, CA, USA
Forgive me if this thread is a repeat, but the original got lost somewhere below, under mytholology

By coincidence here's a hot brawl at WordWizard about punting

http://www.wordwizard.com/ch_forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7002

My critics maintain that a Knight-Ridder news report that Bush is punting on some of the issues is an editorial statement accusing him of unscrupulousness

But I maintain that while "punts" might not have been exactly the correct word to use here, that it was not consciously intended by the K-R reporter to be pejorative and that most news organizations (except possibly Fox) intend their news stories to be neutral in tone

Any support for my interpretation? Thanks to all
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#155705 - 02/14/06 11:08 AM Re: punt
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Dale:

Here's the sentence:

President Bush's proposed budget takes a small step toward reining in long-term spending, but experts warn that his plan punts on the hard choices needed to end deficits and put America's future finances on stronger footing.--Knight Ridder

Now, here's what punting is all about. When faced with a bad field position and the possibility that you are going to give the opposition excellent field position, one of the options in American football is punting the ball, which means simply kicking it as far down the field as you can, thus giving it to the opposition, and hoping that you can pin them way back. It is usually done on fourth down, where failure to make a first down will result in automatically turning over the ball. But it can be done on any down, as was demonstrated by the great John Elway, arguably the best quarterback ever in the National Football League. In certain third down and very long situations Elway would execute what they called a pooch kick, a fairly short punt that was designed to pin the opposition back inside their own ten-yard line. But I digress.

Here's the meaning:

You can be in a situation where you are faced with two not-so-good options: try to make the first down or give the ball away. The first option is often perceived as far more difficult, so the coach opts for the "easy way out": a punt.

And that is what K-R is saying. Rather than dig down and do all the hard and dirty work necessary to achieve a goal (touchdown or whatever political goal you care to conceive) the President has chosen to punt the ball away and let the opposition have a go at it.

PLEASE let's confine this to discussing the term punt, not the political situation, or Jackie will hand me my head.
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#155706 - 02/14/06 01:31 PM Re: punt
dalehileman Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 1773
Loc: Apple Valley, CA, USA
Ted, thank you for the exhaustive analysis. Although at first I didn't think so, consensus has it that the K-R "news" report could be an example of what the right wing refers to as the leftward bias of the media. Without intending a political statement, however, I still maintain that any such apparently liberal slant on the report of a typical newsreporter is either unintentional or reflects a subconscious attitude better representing the reality of the situation
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#155707 - 02/14/06 03:09 PM Re: punt
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Doesn't make any difference whether it's conscious or unconscious, though it may well be that the experts used the word "punts" rather than the reporter's injecting it into the story.

But if the reporter put it in, it's not a good thing. My mother, God rest her soul, was a journalist who was not above injecting things like this into a story. One she got in a spot of trouble for was a reference to a politician's friends as cronies rather than the more neutral term friends or colleagues. And she double damn sure did it on purpose. She and I had a few words about it, and the editor who let it through got a pretty good tongue-lashing. Mom came darned close to being fired.
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#155708 - 02/14/06 06:28 PM Re: punt
dalehileman Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 1773
Loc: Apple Valley, CA, USA
Ted: But even if accusing somebody of punting is derogatory, if I report that an unspecified expert accuses the president of punting, I'm simply reporting the news, not expressing an opinion. So how can you accuse K-R of editorializing
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#155709 - 02/14/06 07:13 PM Re: punt
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Dale:

If the experts SAID this, they should be quoted. But the way it's written you cannot tell whether they said something else and the reporter inserted the word punt into the story. That was my point.
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TEd

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#155710 - 02/15/06 10:41 AM Re: punt
Myridon Offline
addict

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 557
Loc: Dallas, TX
Quote:

If the experts SAID this, they should be quoted. But the way it's written you cannot tell whether they said something else and the reporter inserted the word punt into the story. That was my point.




While it's unlikely that "the experts" all used the word punt, the experts that he's summarizing here said negative things and may well have said much worse. He may actually be showing bias the other way by softening it to punt. For example:

EXPERT1: The budget is fubar.
EXPERT2: This budget is a disaster.

WRITER: Experts warn the budget is not perfect.

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#155711 - 02/15/06 01:30 PM Re: punt
dalehileman Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 1773
Loc: Apple Valley, CA, USA
Ted, Myr: Your punt is well taken
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#155712 - 02/15/06 08:53 PM Re: punt
Jackie Offline

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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11610
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Dale!

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#155713 - 02/18/06 10:36 PM Re: punt
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 5107
Loc: Worcester, MA
Quote:

For example:

EXPERT1: The budget is fubar.
EXPERT2: This budget is a disaster.

WRITER: Experts warn the budget is not perfect.




...or consider:

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE PLAN

And then came the Assumptions
And the Assumptions were without Substance

And Darkness was upon the Face of the Workers
And they spake amongst themselves, saying
“It is a Crock of Shit and it Stinks”

And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and said
“It is a Pail of Dung and none may abide the Odor thereof”

And the Supervisors went unto their Managers and said unto them
“It is a container of Excrement and it is very Strong
such that none may abide it”


And the Managers went unto their Vice-Presidents and said
“It is a Vessel of Fertilizer and none may abide by its strength”

And the Vice-Presidents spake among themselves saying one to another
“It contains that which aids Plant Growth and it is very strong”

And the Vice-Presidents went unto the President and said unto him
“It promotes Growth and it is very powerful”

And the President went unto the Board of Trustees and said unto them
“This new Plan will promote the Growth and Efficiency of this Company
and in these Areas in particular...”


And the Board of Trustees looked upon the Plan
And they saw that it had had Input From All Levels
And they agreed among themselves that it was Good
And the Plan was Implemented

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