Monday, September 08, 2008

Why I Still Don't Read The Mercury News

Since my hissy fit over my hometown newspaper's inability to properly report facts that a child should know, I've been quite successful in cutting it out of my life. It lost the home tab on Firefox, and to be honest, I haven't missed it. As planned, the Chronic has filled in the gap appropriately... I would like more South Bay news, but they do actual, y'know, reporting, and I'm pretty pleased with them.

Today, riding on the VTA from Diridon to my apartment, I sat next to a discarded copy of today's paper. Curiosity overcame my rage, and I picked up the "Technology" section. I noticed that the cover article, with a graphic that covers fully half of the page (hooray for filler content!) was titled "Mobile house hunting". Given that this affects both how I acquire and hope to spend my money, I was hooked and started reading it.

I lasted as far as the second paragraph. Here, in its entirety, is the first sentence:
"Despite the housing market downturn, many Americans are still house hunting, and they helped send sales of smart-phones and wireless devices to nearly 21 million units in North America last year."

How do I begin to wrap my mind around the stupidities contained within that sentence?

First of all, let's consider a hypothetical conversation.

"Mary dearest, we must decide what cell phones to purchase."
"Franky dear, let us get those free phones from Verizon."
"Mary, have you forgotten that we will be purchasing a house later this year?"
"Oh, you are right, Frank! We must spend $400 apiece to purchase Blackberry smart phones. Because we are house hunting."
"This is the smartest decision we will ever make."

I defy the author to find a single person in the universe who based their purchase of a smartphone on its house-hunting capabilities.

As with my previous hit-and-run with the Mercury News, I couldn't continue after that. If your article is introduced by an unjustifiable statistic, why should I read any more?

Good by, Mercury News, and good riddance. Maybe I'll check in next year and see how much farther you have fallen.

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