November 26, 2007

An experimental control

Brett Reynolds sent in a link to this CBC news story about Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Tanzania to announce a Canadian donation to "The Intitiative to Save a Million Lives". This is a program to train health workers and furnish treatments for diseases like malaria and measles that especially affect mothers and children. In addition to the CBC coverage, there were stories n the Toronto Star ("Harper annonces new aid program"), the Globe and Mail ("Harper arrives in Tanzania bearing gift"), and many other places.

But neither the CBC, nor any of the other stories that I've seen so far, picked up on the thing that Brett noticed and pointed out to me.

Brett reminded me that last September, there was a significant commotion over President George W. Bush's use of the pleonastic plural "childrens" in a speech in New York City ("Weisberg wins", 9/30/2007). I've been muttering for several years about the herd-journalism of the "Bushisms" phenomenon (e.g. "You say Nevada I say Nevahda", 1/3/2004). Now, as Brett observes, Prime Minister Harper offers an exact experimental control, which is predictably ignored by the press. This time, the Weisbergists lose.

Posted by Mark Liberman at November 26, 2007 07:42 PM