The Importance of Copy Editing

by Fred Schwarz

NPR’s website has attracted some criticism for headlining a news item “GOP Dope Slaps Obama For Saying Private Sector’s Doing Fine.” Whom, critics ask, is NPR calling a dope?  This could be a misunderstanding caused by faulty punctuation. It seems to me that the headline writer meant to invoke the phrase “dope slap,” meaning an upwards slap meant to knock some sense into a dope. If the headline writer had hyphenated the phrase — “GOP Dope-Slaps Obama” — everything would have been clear. That’s why copy editors make the big bucks . . .

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