Hyperbole and generalisations are the enemies of journalism

Stanley Fish of Chicago writes in today's NYT: "We are at that time of year when millions of American college and high school students will stride across the stage, take diploma in hand and set out to the wider world, most of them utterly unable to write a clear and coherent English sentence" (emphasis added). How can the NYT print such an absurd accusation? Read it back to yourself: millions? "Utterly unable"?

Bashing teachers and schools is far too easy, especially in the US where public education is all too commonly betrayed by political and economic elites. It doesn't help when the newspaper of record gets in on the act with over-the-top, unsupportable charges, which can only further undermine public desire to aid (not "reform," too often a synonym for "privatise") one of the few institutions capable of fulfilling the American republic's yearning for genuine democracy.

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