The Washington Post

Theater shootings: Denver Post propagates a false plural

Media corruption is raging out in Colorado, and the Denver Post has the story. Here’s the headline:

Theater shooting: Media outlets covering Aurora paying for information

Go ahead, the filthy details are all right there on the Web, via the Denver Post. Just click right here for the paper’s laundry list of outlets that’ve unsheathed their checkbooks in pursuit of reportorial glory from Aurora. But just to save you some time, I’ll reconstruct the whole list for you, via fair use. Here comes the exhaustive roster of shame, in no particular order:

1) “Entertainment Tonight”

2) Umm, uh.....

Well, the Denver Post story titled “Theater shooting: Media outlets covering Aurora paying for information” doesn’t appear to offer a second example. Perhaps the headline “Theater shooting: Media outlet covering Aurora paying for information” or the headline “One single, solitary media outlet covering Aurora paying for information” doesn’t pull in readers quite like the false-plural headline that the Denver Post appears to have affixed to its story.

The story includes this revelation:

“Entertainment Tonight” is among those tapping sources in Colorado, and offering payments for information. Shooting eyewitness Torrence Brown Jr.’s father told a Denver Post reporter he couldn’t talk because the family had “an exclusive contract” with Entertainment Tonight.

From that point onward, though, the piece is example-free. It elides from the “Entertainment Tonight” case-in-point to a lengthy background discussion of pay-for-play journalism.

I’ve reached out to reporter Joanne Ostrow for a comment on why there was a plural headline over a singular story. No immediate reply. Also reaching out to “Entertainment Tonight” for its side of this story.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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