Slug: choice-of-words Date: 2004-10-23 Title: Choice of Words layout: post

Dave links to a Dowbrigade story about a journalism student killed by police riot-control activity last night in Boston. The line Dave quotes from the story:

>"Last night 21-year-old Emerson College journalism major Victoria Snelgrove was killed when hit in the eye by a pepper spray ball fired by Boston Police."

From the quote, I figured that this was a "police brutality" story. Which, perhaps it was but what you don't get from Dave's choice of pull-quotes is:

>"…the legions of impaired patrons exiting the many bars and bistros on Lansdowne St. and Kenmore Square itself, students from nearby BU dorms who pour into the Square in anticipation of the party and action, students from other Boston area colleges who pour into cars, or take the subway to get in on the action, suburban high school kids who have been drinking all afternoon and evening who think it would be a hoot to hit the Square and celebrate with the college kids.

>Together they turn Kenmore Square into a Free-for-All zone where it is OK to smoke dope in the streets, girls take off their tops and flash the crowd, cars are overturned and the police defied and taunted."

While the death of anyone in a situation like this is a tragedy, I would not chalk this one up to law-enforcement excess. I don't know what Dave's thoughts on this were, but his quote selection here smacks of tabloid "journalism" - he picked perhaps the most inflammatory quote in the story, one that predisposes the reader to a particular viewpoint before even reading the story (actually excerpted from the Boston Herald).