April 16, 2024

Weasel Words . . . by Joseph G. Evrard, Staff Kentuckian


Television news now follows a strict format that cannot be violated. There a certain number of standard phrases, which MUST be included in every newscast. The subject matter may change slightly from day to day, but the basic format remains the same. See if you don’t agree…
Experts say… When was the last time you heard the news anchor report a story and wrap it up with “Experts say this trend is likely to continue.” Or, Experts say the sky will remain blue unless it changes.” Or, Experts say “most people prefer breathing to not breathing.” I’ll bet the last time you heard that was yesterday, or maybe just a minute ago.

It’s now impossible to listen to a newscast without hearing what the experts have to say. I want to know who these experts are. Where does one go to find them? Who proclaimed them to be experts? And, why am I supposed to believe what they have to say? I looked in the yellow pages under “experts” and came up empty-handed.

Do news organizations employ huge roving bands of experts who go around commenting on everything? Do they have offices full of experts who sit around saying things? Or maybe they have just two or three experts who know everything. What happens when an expert says, “I don’t know.” Do they get fired? I have yet to listen to a newscast and hear the reporter say, “Experts say they haven’t the foggiest about what’s going on.”

“Scientists believe… “I guess to become a scientist you go to scientist school to study all kinds of scientist stuff. When you graduate, you get a pair of thick glasses, a white lab coat, a big bushy beard – optional for female scientists – and a thick book entitled What Scientists Believe. Every scientist who wants to be worthy of the name has a professional responsibility to study and master everything in the book. That way, they can be sure they all believe the same things.

Astronomers think… Astronomers are a special kind of scientist trained in the art of thinking rather than believing. An astronomer’s job is to look through a telescope and think. Usually this thinking is directed toward discovering the origins of the universe, as in a recently reported theory – “Astronomers think the universe began as a single speck of dust that developed an uncontrollable appetite for fast food. The speck ate so much, it finally exploded. This is called the Big Bang theory of the universe.” I knew an astronomer who kept his telescope trained on a high-rise apartment building a few blocks away. When asked what he was doing, he claimed to be studying heavenly bodies. There was a guy who could think!

“Concerned parents agree…” I guess when parents get together to talk about their children, they divide themselves into two groups. Group one is the concerned parents who all agree. They stand around nodding their heads, slapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves on their enormous degree of agreement. Of course they all agree. They’re concerned parents. Group two is made up of unconcerned parents. These idiots can’t agree on anything. The argue and bicker, throwing insults and nasty gestures at each other. Occasionally a fight breaks out. It doesn’t really matter, though. These parents are so unconcerned they couldn’t care less.

According to a recent study… Good grief! How many studies must be going on? Every day we hear about study, after study, after study, after study. Guess who pays for most of these studies? That’s right, US! The vast majority of studies are funded by government grants. Translate that as our tax dollars! Why should we pay to have someone study stuff we already know?

Did you know that happy, well-adjusted children are more likely to come from secure, loving homes than from homes where drug abuse is common? Did you know that our children are more likely to hang around with people they like than with people who bully them? Believe it or not, we’ve paid for studies arriving at these conclusions. We need to spend less time studying stuff and more time doing stuff.

More research needed… Virtually all of the studies I’ve just been complaining about end up refusing to reach any definite conclusions, but claiming “more research is needed.” Of course more research is needed! What could happen if they didn’t get that government grant? They’d have to go out and find honest work!

The (fill in the blank) Crisis… Just what we need! Another crisis! Why can’t anything happen without being a crisis? In my memory it all started with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Since then we’ve had every imaginable crisis including the Medicare Crisis, Social Security Crisis, Forest Fire Crisis, Baseball Strike Crisis, Fatty Food Crisis, Airline Security Crisis, Poisoned Tylenol Crisis, ENRON Crisis, WorldCom Crisis, Flu Vaccine Crisis, Middle East Crisis, Florida Vote-Counting Crisis, FBI Crisis, Oil Crisis, Firestone Tire Crisis, Beached Whale Crisis, Killer Bee Crisis, Fake Brand Name Crisis, Teacher Pay Crisis, Air Pollution Crisis, Nuclear Waste Crisis, Illegal Alien Crisis, Presidential Impeachment Crisis, Shark Attack Crisis, and the Information Gap Crisis.

Stay tuned for the Pie Crust Crisis, the Lawn Trimmings Crisis, and the Lack of Puffy Clouds Crisis.

Had enough? Next time you tune in the news, remember what you’ve read here. I know for a fact that, according to a recent study, scientists believe astronomers think experts say that more research is needed on the crisis. Concerned parents agree!

See Ya Around,


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