Nuts to You

March 8, 2007

Gather round, sprouts, and lean in close while I tell you a secret journalism term. Promise you won’t tell anybody, okay? Here it is: Nut graf.

Stop laughing, goddammit! It’s a real term! It’s the paragraph in a story that’s supposed to encapsulate the point of the whole exercise and let the reader know why he should continue wading through all the gray prose on the page.

The Whitewater pseudo-scandal of the 1990s was a story without a nut graf. Nobody could say exactly why it was supposed to reflect badly on the Clintons that they had been hosed in a decade-old real estate deal, or why it was remotely relevant to the inner workings of Bill Clinton’s administration. It just kept rolling along, pushed by cadres of winger elves and duly transcribed by gullible or ax-grinding reporters who thought it was a potential big deal. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? Except that in this case, the smoke was being blown by Republicans. No nut graf — just nuts.

The budding pseudo-scandal over Barack Obama’s stock investments, and the unduly credulous behavior of entirely too many journalists reporting it, has the same nut-grafless quality as Whitewater. Obama even lost money by ordering the stocks sold out of his blind trust. That’s too many parallels right there.

Let’s see if we here in Blogitania can do our bit to keep this load of crap from swelling into the Krakatoa of bullshit that Whitewater became.           


One Response to “Nuts to You”

  1. Bill Bowman Says:

    See, that’s the thing. It’s when they lose money that the right wingnut take notice. Because, hey, that’s just not done, and you need to be punished.

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