Wonder of the Web #2,567: if you write something stupid in a small, local paper, that fact has a much larger chance than before of being discovered outside your locality.
To wit: today’s editorial in The Daily News-Record, the newspaper of Harrisonburg, Virginia. The one headlined, no joke, “Primate Obama.”
Now, the editorial in question (thanks to a reader for passing it on) is about Obama’s controversial speech at Notre Dame—“the president is not even Catholic,” the paper huffs, “yet on Sunday during his controversial appearance at Notre Dame’s commencement exercises, Mr. Obama all but declared himself Primate of the Roman Catholic Church in America”—and thus its title is, ostensibly, a reference to clerical vernacular. (A “primate” in the Catholic church, is, per the Catholic Encyclopedia, “a bishop possessing superior authority, not only over the bishops of his own province, like the metropolitan, but over several provinces and metropolitans.”) But, you know, come on.
One DNR reader’s reaction to the monkey business:
THIS HEADLINE IS DISGUSTING, A NEW LOW FOR THE LOWLY dnr. SHAME ON THE EDITORS. THEY ARE THE TRUE SUB-HUMANS IN THIS PICTURE. THERE ARE APPARENTLY NO DEPTHS THEY WILL NOT DIVE TO IN THEIR EFFORTS, UNSUCCESSFUL, TO BE CLEVER. THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED ONLY IN SHAMING THEMSELVES. AND MAKING THE REST OF US IN THE VALLEY LOOK BAD BY OUR SUPPORT OF SUCH DISGRACEFUL “JOURNALISM”.Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.