Modern journalism is often criticized for its slavish devotion to balance — a commitment to both sides of the story that boils down to he said-she said — even when this sort of equality is wholly unwarranted.
What I’m saying is that the following piece of criticism is not altogether original in kind. Behold, the first paragraph of Huffington Post’s coverage of the latest* exploding whale incident:
A purportedly dead sperm whale exploded after it was pierced by a local on the Faroe Islands, its innards blasting forth as if spewed from a sideways volcano. And it was all captured on video.
pur·port·ed·ly, adverb: it is purported : ostensibly, allegedly
OK, let’s try this again:
pur·port·ed, adjective: said to be true or real but not definitely true or real : reputed, alleged
Alright, HuffPo – when you’re so reluctant to report things as actual facts that you feel the need to qualify this whale’s state of being alive as anything other than simply “deep sixed”, you know things have gone too far:
*As opposed to this one.