Comparing today’s United Airlines statements (mostly right) to what they said before (really wrong)

Two-and-a-half weeks after dragging a passenger off a flight like a rag doll, United Airlines has released a statement about changes to its procedures and emailed all its frequent flyers. Everything they did wrong in the original statements, they’ve now done right. And the two sets of statements give me a unique opportunity to contrast effective … Continued

The new HuffPost is so confused

Huffington Post is changing its name to HuffPost and will now focus on telling stories of the powerless. What does that mean? I’ve read the piece from Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen and I’m still trying to figure it out. I think she is confused, and writing about things when you are confused results in a muddled … Continued

The lesson of Juicero: corporate writing should not sound like a superhero movie

It’s been a tough week for Juicero, a startup company that makes an internet-connected juicing machine. Some Bloomberg reporters figured out you could make juice from the juice packs without using the Juicero machine at all. The CEO’s response on Medium is completely ineffective, because he can only see the world from within his limited, Silicon-Valley … Continued

Is Facebook responsible for hosting a murder broadcast?

Facebook user Steve Stephens used Facebook on Sunday to build an audience for murder, posting videos of his plan to shoot somebody, the shooting itself, and his confession. Facebook explained the changes it will make in reviewing videos like this, but avoiding taking responsibility or apologizing. In the end, how much fault lies with Facebook? While … Continued

Hey Marvel Comics, you can’t take a stand in the passive voice

When Marvel Comics artist Ardian Syaf secretly inserted Indonesian political images into his X-Men comics, Marvel fired him. Its passive statement about the incident isn’t fooling anyone. Ardian Syaf inserted secret messages into comic art In the Muslim-dominated nation of Indonesia, some Islamist groups are now in conflict with the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor of Jakarta, Basuki … Continued

United breaks passengers (and apologizes feebly)

I didn’t want to write another United Airlines post, but so many of you insisted — and United’s apology is even lamer than the one from two weeks ago. On an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville, United Express needed space to ferry four crew members to another assignment. After an $800 bribe persuaded only two passengers … Continued

The inflamed rhetoric of the Trump justification for bombing Syria

President Trump, outraged by the use of nerve gas on civilians, launched 59 cruise missiles at the airfield that Bashar al-Assad uses in Syria. Then he made a statement justifying the action. It’s a case study in Trumpspeak — does the pileup in intensifying adjectives and adverbs make a statement more persuasive, or more suspect? In my … Continued