NY Times Page One News: President Trump Dangles a Modifier
It looks like the people who put out the New York Times have found one more thing they don’t like about Donald Trump. Was it his latest hardline stance on tariffs? Or his decision to call off a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David? Was it something he tweeted about immigration?
No, no and no.
Now the New York Times is going after the president … (wait for it) … over his … grammar.
In a Page One story that looks like someone at the Onion wrote it, Times writer Sarah Lyall tells us that in late May President Trump tweeted about Democratic senator Mark Warner.
“… their is nothing bipartisan about him,” Mr. Trump wrote.
Get it? President Trump wrote the word … “their” … when he should have written … “there.”
If this isn’t a reason to impeach the president, then nothing is, right?
The Times quotes somebody named Bryan A. Garner, the author of “Garner’s Modern English Usage,” who, when he read the president’s tweet, “could feel his blood pressure steadily rising,” as the Times describes it.
“You mean, ‘There is nothing bipartisan about him.’” Garner tweeted in a direct response to the president. “Not ‘their,’ which is the possessive form of ‘they.’”
Did I mention that this story appeared on Page One of the New York Times, on Sunday, no less, when liberals all over Upper Manhattan and Malibu sip their cappuccino lattes and search the newspaper of record for the latest crimes against humanity committed by the president.
The Times, whenever called out for its harsh treatment of the president, says with a straight face that that they’re simply covering the news, not inventing it; that they’re not out to get the president despite what he and his loyal fans may think.
Think about that as you read what the Times goes on to say about the president’s tweets.
“Leaving aside its splenetic tone and in-your-face ad hominem attacks, knee-jerk defensiveness and ugly dog whistle language, why is so much of the direct communication from the president to the world heaving with bad grammar, bad spelling, bizarre punctuation, muddy diction and inexplicable random capitalization?”
That’s not a quote from some grammarian critic of the president. Those are the words of the Times writer. She, not some critic, is the one fretting over “muddy diction and “random capitalization.” Someone get Jerry Nadler on the phone!
“The Democrats hope that in 2020 the country will elect a new tweeter in chief, perhaps even one who knows how to spell,” Ms. Lyall, objective, no-axe-to-grind journalist that she is, informs us.
Once upon a time, there was no place for sarcasm coming from a journalist writing a hard news Page One story. Even the New York Times didn’t allow it. Now, anything goes at the most important newspaper in the solar system – including cheap shots aimed at a president they openly detest.
The story also lets us know that, “Someone corrected Mr. Trump‘s tweet calling Joe Biden, ‘Joe Bidan’; nobody did anything when he used ‘council’ instead of ‘counsel,'” Ms. Lyall reports.
If James Comey were still running the FBI, he’d send out one of his most trusted agents, someone like Peter Strzok, to arrest Mr. Trump for that egregious error.
And then there’s the dreaded dangling modifier offense.
In one tweet, Ms. Lyall, tells us that the president “successfully managed to both dangle a modifier and misspell a four-letter word in the course of a single sentence.”
Another language expert, who acknowledges she doesn’t like Mr. Trump, accuses him of another capital offense: putting a comma where a period should go.
Oh, the horror!
There’s a word to describe all this concern over random capitalization, dangling modifiers, and commas where periods should go. The word is “pedantic,” which my dictionary defines as a “narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously insistence that we follow the rules exactly” – the kind of thing that only annoying hall monitors of the English language demand, the same kind of people who made us diagram sentences in school – for reasons I still can’t figure out.
Mr. Trump has many faults. That’s hardly breaking news. But so does the New York Times have faults -- something they seem blissfully unaware of ... introspection being a quality in short supply over there.