Shut Your Loophole
Add loophole to the list of words that should be banned from journalism.
I don't mean to suggest that ideology lurks behind every headline that includes the "L" word. (It's okay with me if editorialists and op-ed columnists use the word.) Headlines are usually written by the copy staff, and while some of these suffering bastards are closet Marxists who want the government to run everything, most of them merely pick up on the themes inside the article itself. If the reporter calls something a loophole, and the editor approves it, who are they to avoid it? Especially when they're on deadline.
Likewise, most reporters I know are less interested in pushing their political views on readers than they are in getting interesting information printed. They rely on loophole because it compresses interesting findings from the complex worlds of campaign finance, taxation, or regulation into a bite-size nugget their editor can swallow: "Oh, it's a loophole story! Why didn't you say so?"
But it shouldn't be so. Once reporters understand that one man's loophole is another man's freedom, they'll never use the word again. At least not outside quotation marks.
Open all the loopholes! Let the gutters run bright and bubbly with champagne! Draw me a bath of ambrosia! Send your loophole reflections to email@example.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum, in a future article, or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)