Friday, October 31, 2008

October Surprise or Ambiguous Reference?

While scanning news headlines, the following from the Associated Press caught my eye:

Obama ads in GOP turf; McCain says he’s leftist

Was John McCain outing himself as a leftist? In the tradition of October Surprises, what could be more “maverick” than that?

I could imagine the instant analysis from cable-TV news: “With Sarah Palin attacking from the right, and now McCain targeting disaffected Kucinich voters, will Obama be left helpless in an ideological pincer?!?”

Then I clicked the article. Turns out McCain was talking about Obama.

So maybe the subhead of the story should have been, “Associated Press commits ambiguous pronoun reference; electorate momentarily confused.”

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