Bad newspaper writing usually happens because you’re on auto-pilot. There are conventions and habits you follow, assembling a piece and leaving [hook here], [STATS] and [words that don’t suck] behind you, in place of the grafs to insert later. So you assemble the structure, then plug in the prose. Then finesse it so it sounds linear.
Except when you forget to.
Then a profile of a State Senator becomes hilarious.
Some of that reflects the difference between the House and Senate. The House Democratic Caucus is much larger, with 62 members. The Senate Democratic caucus is half that size and requires a different style of leadership, said Sen. Fred Jarrett, D-Mercer Island. "The Senate has a tendency to be a lot more like cats," he said.
The next graf is about Brown’s personality. Then there’s a section on tax policy. Then the article ends.
I must have looked over the whole thing, for fifteen minutes, trying to figure out how the Washington State Senate was "a lot more like cats." Or what the House members do that make them ‘a lot less like cats.’
There’s fewer of them remember, and they’re more organized. So it’s less like "herding cats." And she has to socialize with them more intensely, so it’s not like they’re anti-social. There’s no implied cat stereotype!
It’s a glitch in the matrix. It’s a point that somewhere in the editing process, was detached from any related point. But at 2AM the night of publication, it still looked respectable.
Hey, it could be worse.
But I’ll remember nothing else.