Lazy Journalism: Or, words have meanings.

I had this article open in my browser from earlier this morning. I should’ve taken a snapshot before refreshing. One error is gone, but the same error still exists. The title of the article is “Economy Slows to Near Crawl”.

The economy skidded to a near halt in the final quarter of last year, clobbered by dual slumps in housing and credit that caused people and businesses to spend and invest more sparingly.

I don’t recall having trouble buying luxury items in the last quarter of 2007. I definitely don’t recall having trouble buying necessities in the same time period. Has the economy really skidded to a near “halt”, meaning that it has skidded to a near stop?

I don’t think the new headline, replacing halt with crawl, is much better. Surely there’s a better word for the apparent lack of expansion, given that we’re not quite at breadline status. Semantically, I’d choose stagnant, but that might have some Americans who weren’t six when the ’70s ended concerned. Not that it doesn’t concern me, but I recognize it from the intellectual, not the experiential.

Or the AP could’ve taken the easy way, reporting “Economic Growth Slows to Near Halt,” or some other such evaluation of the facts.