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Quote unquote

Had a quick look at the BBC News site this morning, and noted that it seems to have broken its own record for the number of quotes in headlines. Thus a 'new mammal' has been seen in Borneo, Gordon Brown is promising to be a 'Blairite', and Paul Gascoigne has been arrested over 'assault' (this is the first story I clicked on, readers).

I guess the headline writers use the whole quoting technique to report quotes or allegations from the story – things that haven't been confirmed or might be libellous. Perhaps on a website it's a neat trick for writing short headlines where there isn't much room. Perhaps it's especially important that the BBC stays noncommital and impartial. Perhaps with 24 hour news and all that the editors are being forced to publish stories before they can be properly investigated. I don't care – it makes my teeth hurt and I think it makes the BBC look stupid.

Incidentally, that 'new mammal' that they found – I got a B in Biology GCSE and I read National Geographic, so I draw on inconsiderable knowledge when I ask, what else could it be? A fish? A fern? It's furry and looks quite sweet – that makes it a mammal in my book. But then, I had to ask Nick to remind me of the difference between Linux and open source the other day (I know, I know, I had a brain fart) so what do I know?


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