How the White House suckered liberals by calling MS-13 gang members “animals”

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The White House web site’s announcement about the MS-13 gang called them “animals” ten times in 439 words. This is master-level trolling — it drove the Web crazy, just as planned. Let’s examine what’s really going on here. Calling people, even gang members, “animals” is provocative to say the least. Dehumanizing people can be a … Continued

The purple prose of Shervin Pishevar: the limits of passion at work

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Investor Shervin Pishevar wrote a letter defending his friend, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, as investors attempted to eject him from Uber’s board of directors. It’s the most florid business communication you’ll ever see. In a moment of passion, you may be tempted to write like this. Don’t — it’ll come back to haunt you. … Continued

How close to perfection can you get? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Today’s question is about the pursuit of perfection — not only how to do it, but when it makes sense. Dear Dr. Wobs: On perfection: how close to 100% error-free can an editor aspire to? What tools can help a mere mortal get a little closer? Martha Pings Perfection is a dangerous goal Dear Martha: … Continued

Trump fires at FBI director James Comey, shoots himself

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Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey yesterday, ostensibly for incompetence. With the FBI investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the justification is suspect. A ROAM analysis reveals how Trump’s letter firing Comey does the opposite of what Trump intended. Imagine you’re Trump. (Hard to do, I know.) You’re about to fire the director of the agency … Continued

How to fly readers directly to their destination: a lesson from Etihad Airways

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When the Trump administration banned electronics larger than a mobile phone for passengers from several Middle East airports, airlines needed to respond. A press release from Etihad Airways tries to explain the problem and their solution, but circles around aimlessly instead. Here’s how to use a ROAM analysis to make communications like this better. Etihad’s email … Continued

Coca-Cola Refreshments achieves record low meaning ratio of 4%

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If you have bad news, just come out with it. The more you bury it in self-serving bullshit, the more people will just think you’re a dishonest idiot. That’s what happened with today’s spectacularly opaque note from Coca-Cola Refreshments. Here’s the note that J.D. Lowry of Las Vegas found on the break room soda machine. … Continued

One tool will make all the difference in your writing: ROAM (infographic)

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The only purpose of business writing is to create a change in the reader. Create the change and you succeed; fail to make the change and you’ve wasted your time. Before you spend hours on a piece of writing, spend 15 minutes on the one tool that will make it most likely to be effective. Learn … Continued