Archive for Misnegation

1 day since big-font misnegation

A sign displayed at yesterday's congressional impeachment hearing:

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Freudian hypernegation

Eileen Sullivan, "Trump Publicly Urges China to Investigate the Bidens", NYT 10/3/2019:

Mr. Trump has defended his conversation with Mr. Zelensky as "perfect" even after a reconstructed transcript of the call was released that showed him seeking help from Ukraine in investigating the Bidens. And he doubled down on his request on Thursday.

"I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens," Mr. Trump said. "Because nobody has any doubt that they weren't crooked."

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Misnegation harvest

Readers have recently sent two  links to examples where writers seem to have lost control of piled-up negatives.

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Nothing I don't think anybody can do about it

By Dianne Gallagher, Catherine Shoichet and Madeline Holcombe, "680 undocumented workers arrested in record-setting immigration sweep on the first day of school", CNN 8/8/2019 [emphasis added]:

After immigration authorities rounded up hundreds of workers in a massive sweep at seven Mississippi food processing plants, friends and family members are desperately searching for answers.

A crowd waited outside a plant in Morton, Mississippi, on Thursday morning, hoping authorities would release their loved ones. Many had been by later in the afternoon.

Video footage from CNN affiliates and Facebook live showed children sobbing as they waited for word on what had happened to their parents. […]

Speaking to reporters outside a plant in Canton, Mississippi, Mayor William Truly Jr. said he was concerned about the impact the arrests would have on the local economy — and on the community.

"I recognize that ICE comes under the Department of Homeland Security, and this is an order of the United States. There's nothing I don't think anybody can do about it," he said. "But my main concern is now, what happens to the children?"

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Lack of inaction

From a recent article on the Vanity Fair site by Abigail Tracy ("'There's Blood on the Hands of Members of Congress': Frustrated Democrats Debate Strategy as Mitch McConnell Holds Gun Control in His Pocket," published Aug. 6):

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who was elected weeks before the 2012 mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut, expressed dismay at the lack of inaction in Congress.

Obligatory screenshot:

It's our old friend, misnegation. Murphy was surely expressing dismay at the lack of action, or inaction, in Congress.

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Inside out

Brian Costa, "Rory McIlroy's British Open Chances Collapse on the First Hole", WSJ 7/18/2019 [emphasis added]:

Rory McIlroy stepped into the first tee box at Royal Portrush on Thursday morning and waved to a roaring crowd. He knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: his opening tee shot at the first British Open held in his native country in more than half a century. […]

This is the same course where, as a 16-year-old amateur in 2005, he shot a 61, which remains the course record. This is a tournament in which McIlroy has not failed to finish outside the top five since 2013 (he missed it with an injury in 2015). This is a player who, as measured by strokes gained—which compares a player's score to the field average—has been the best on the PGA Tour this season.

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Another day, another misnegation

Thomas Friedman, "'Trump's Going to Get Re-elected, Isn't He?'", NYT 7/16/2019 [emphasis added]:

I'm struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, "Trump's going to get re-elected, isn't he?" And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was. […]

But I'm disturbed that so few of the Democratic candidates don't also talk about growing the pie, let alone celebrating American entrepreneurs and risk-takers.

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"Avoid characterizing it as anything but racism"

Paul Farhi, "'Racist' tweets? News media grapple with how to label Trump's latest attacks", Washington Post 7/15/2019:

When is it time to call a statement "racist," and when is it time to let others characterize it that way?

News organizations wrestled with that question Sunday and Monday after President Trump tweeted a series of statements aimed at four members of Congress, all women of color. […]

Arizona State journalism professor Dan Gillmor said news organizations are guilty of "weasel wording" when they avoid characterizing the president's tweets as anything but racism.

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Negative concord of the week

[h/t Neal Goldfarb]

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Losing the battle

Elizabeth Wydra, "Chief Justice John Roberts is under tremendous pressure", CNN 5/10/2019:

As the Supreme Court strives to finish its work by the end of June — deciding on issues from the future of the census to the ability of politicians to draw their own legislative districts — the justices labor in their chambers at a particularly fraught moment in our country's history. The pressure may be greatest on Chief Justice John Roberts.

Try as he might — and some might question whether he is trying hard enough lately — Roberts is in danger of losing his battle to keep most Americans from seeing the court he leads as divorced from politics.

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New twist on a classic misnegation

Jared Dubin, "The NBA's Other Offensive Revolution: Never Turning The Ball Over", FiveThirtyEight 3/14/2018 [emphasis added]:

We're in a golden age for NBA offense. Teams are scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions during the 2018-19 season, according to — a full 1.3 points per 100 possessions more than the previous high of 108.8, which was set two years ago.

This is largely — and rightly — credited to the boom in 3-point attempts. […]

But while the genesis of the other offensive changes can be neatly traced, the decline in turnovers is a bit more puzzling. […]

Regardless of why, the impact of turnovers cannot be undersold. […] You can't score if you don't have the ball.

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From today's Financial Times:

I think they meant "anti-anti-Semitism ceremony".

[h.t. Donald Clarke]

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Hypothetical misnegation

From Eoin Ryan:

I noticed this in an article on, "Charter schools are pushing public education to the breaking point: Charters are driving Boston's public education system to the financial brink" by Jeff Bryant, published on Friday, February 8.

The overall tenor of the piece, as the headline and subhead make clear, is that the way charter schools are funded in Massachussetts is sucking funding from public schools, with bad consequences throughout the state and especially in Boston. So, per the article, the charter school situation is not good in Massachussetts:

This is not to say Massachusetts might be doing a better job of managing the charter industry than any other state. Charters in Massachusetts are more regulated than they are in most other states, and their numbers are capped…

Or so says the text. But I think this should be "[]his is not to say MA might not be doing a better job", with a second "not". The construction with two "not"s is hard to parse (maybe I'm wrong that there should be a second "not"!), perhaps leading to a sort of "edito" based on the thought that so many "not"s can't be right, but the trickiness seems partly related to the presence of the "might".

What do you think?

(For more  than no one doesn't want to read about misnegation, see here.)

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