Inverted Robbers

Today’s Guardian runs with Culture Unstained’s accusations that the Science Museum is misleading the public.

The Museum has reallocated its Sackler Family funding.

This tricks the public by disguising the extent to which the Museum currently benefits from the US opioid crisis.

Many of the Sacklers have stakes in Purdue Pharma.

‘Painkiller’ addiction has resulted in the overdose and death of hundreds of Americans per week.

War of Omission

My interest in this multifaceted story extends beyond the funding, the deaths, and even the museum itself.

What I’m most interested in here is the words.

And beyond that, more specifically, the punctuation.

What I really want to get to the bottom of is the Guardian’s unnecessary use of inverted commas.

These aren’t even speech marks.

Why are they there?

Are they performing a legal function? If so then at whose behest?

Or might they be the Guardian’s way of distancing itself from the message that it itself delivers.

Why would the Guardian bend over backwards to distance itself from a third party’s accusation?

If I accuse you of murder I don’t accuse you of “murder” or ‘murder’.

What is going on?

The Guardian goes with the following headlines:

And this for its online offering:

Can anyone explain what is going on with the stray inverts?

Could it be that the single inverted commas give them the right to paraphrase?

Where do you draw the line?

Can they just put down what they think people said as opposed to what they actually said – so long as it’s in ‘inverted commas’?

Is this a licence to hedge?

Like an unreliable credit rating on a sliced and diced Deutsche Bank subprime financial instrument.

There is a game being played here.

I’ve come across this in the Mail and Sun too, so I think it’s quite common practice amongst media lawyers.

Can anyone explain what they’re all playing at?

Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Roger says:

    Fascinating ‘Question’?!

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