Interesting use of words

I saw this headline on the Blade's Web site today. What do you think about it?

"Thug robs National City branch bank in North Toledo"

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091127/NEWS02/911279...

Is it appropriate for a newspaper to use the word "thug"?

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It would be worth some investigation to see if the Blade only shows a tendency to use words like "thug" to describe black suspects, as it did in this case. A quick search of recent bank robberies in which the race of suspects was listed shows the following:

* The word "man" was used to describe the white male who robbed the Huntington Bank in Adrian on November 24.

* The word "man" was used in describing a white male who robbed the Three Meadows bank in Perrysburg on November 10.

Again, this is a small sample size, but it is indeed interesting that the Blade chose to describe a black bank robbery suspect as a "thug" while calling white bank robbery suspects "man." Perhaps too this is an urban-suburban issue, since the robberies committed by "men" occurred outside the city, while the "thug" robbery occurred in the North End of Toledo.

Personally, I have used "thug" to describe quite a few vicious lowlifes. I searched my blog and found that I used the term for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Dailahntae Jemison , Augusto Pinochet, neo-Nazi Hal Turner, Than Shwe, and Grand Theft Auto addicts, among others. I suppose I reserve the term to describe especially vile people, not just everyday bank robbers or other ho-hum crimes.

Oh, and I also called former Detroit mayor and Wayne County Jail inmate Kwame Kilpatrick a "thieving thug" in an editorial I wrote last year. Here's my "thug" tally so far: two Caucasians, two African Americans, one South Asian, one Arab, and an unknown number of video gamers of undetermined ethnicity who like to vicariously kill hookers and shoot cops.

Use of the word is not appropriate in the headline or the story unless its a quote, but perhaps the fact that he pushed the teller was the justification for singling this robber out as a "thug".

Someone please tell me I didn't just defend The Blade.

Well, it's easier than writing, "worthless ^%$#@@# scumbags.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

They're magicians.

They are able to add commentary and conjecture without "giving their opinion". Isn't it amazing. It's a problem throughout most of journalism.

Again I'll bring up the story of the shoot-out at Route 66. Almost every story I read about it mentioned it happened near the Univ. of Toledo. Yet nowhere did it mention it happened just as close to a police dept that has seen budget cuts, it didn't mention it was near one of the highest drug areas of the city. Nope. It happened near the univ and everyone was of college age. Were they UT students? doubtful. But that wasn't mentioned either.

This is a trick that has been used for years. It's the reporter's bias making it's way into the story. A good editor SHOULD stop this. But normally they're just as biased as well.

I highly encourage everyone to really read the articles in the media and really look at the wording. Most times there is bias. When you train yourself to spot the bias you will then rethink the story. Thus giving you a better well-rounded opinion of the story.

MikeyA

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081101/NEWS02/81...

Last fall there was a stabbing on the Scott Park Campus at UT. With limited digging, I only found this article by the Blade - no thug labeling, but not much focus on the perps either.

I do recall they were not UT students - the stabbers.

So to add to one of Mikey's points, we had crime actually take place on campus, but students were not at fault.

Interesting read Thomas. That too didn't mention the cuts in TPD nor that TPD has a precinct right next to the campus.

MikeyA

You sparked my interest with that and I wanted to pull up a map. I found this. http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/oh/toledo/crime/

The immediate neighborhoods of the TPD Scott Park precint get very low crime ratings. The best is 37 out of 100 (100 being safest) and the average is in the teens.

And while college students do generally have higher rates of crime, violent crime is normally not associated with students in any capacity.

MikeyA

If they are robbing somebody they are thugs whether they are black, white or green.

deere1

but there is a difference between a blog post and a newspaper story, but maybe the lines are blurring...?

Maybe Jesse Jackson should have stuck around town a little longer.

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