The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s florid endorsement of Donald Trump


The Las Vegas Review-Journal — owned by the politically active casino owner Sheldon Adelson — just became the first major newspaper to endorse Donald Trump. Endorsements are supposed to be biased, but the more over-the-top they are, the less persuasive they are. This endorsement is so full of florid language that it strains credulity. To understand … Continued

The clear and direct version of the Wikileaks-Ecuador takedown


Can a diplomat tell the plain truth? Today’s I deconstruct Ecuador’s statement about cutting off Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access. It’s clear enough, for a diplomatic communiqué, but it’s fun to fantasize about what the diplomats actually said to Assange. Here’s a quick summary of the backstory. In 2010, prosecutors in Sweden charged Julian Assange with rape and … Continued

Discovering emptiness — why I feel for Ernest Rutherford


In the early 1900s, the physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered the emptiness at the heart of everything. In 2015, so did I. Ernest Rutherford, born in New Zealand, was an early experimenter in the field of radioactivity. Working at the University of Manchester, England, he investigated the mineral uranium and the stream of particles it emitted, which he … Continued

A scary future for Twitter users


Salesforce and Disney have given up on acquiring Twitter, citing its troll problems. To succeed in tech you need either profits or growth; Twitter has neither. So somebody’s going to buy it that doesn’t care about the users. As a result, if you’re a user, you can expect a very scary future — scarier than any ghosts … Continued

Your guide to the five levels of editing (infographic)


In my experience, a big challenge for writers is the inappropriate edit. You know, the guy who corrects spelling errors in your outline, or wants to rearrange the whole thing during the proofreading stage. In fact, only 32% of business writers say that their process for collecting and combining feedback works well. I’ve written before … Continued

Will I see you in Indy this weekend? And other travels . . .


It’s time to take this show on the road. I’ll be tearing up the Public Relations Society of America Conference with a talk on this Sunday, October 23 at 2:45 PM (room “White River E”). Given all the press releases I’ve ripped apart on this blog and my recent exhortation to give them up, this should … Continued

A garden of poisonous weasel words

weasel words

My post about the New York Times’ response to Donald Trump raised a few questions about weasel words. So today, I’ll clarify the different types and why you’re better off avoiding as many as you can. My clearest take on weasel words is here. Here’s the definition: A weasel word is an adjective, adverb, noun, or … Continued