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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 53: Noel Sheppard's School of Headline Cliches

If liberals haven't been smacked down, they've been schooled -- bits of headline-ese the NewsBusters blogger invokes repeatedly.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/14/2011

There are reasons that the Media Research Center hired Noel Sheppard as NewsBusters' associate editor. Presumably, his ability to mislead about issues like global warming or be shocked by things that aren't shocking counted for a lot more than his ability to write headlines.

But write headlines he must. Unfortunately, Sheppard has a bad habit of leaning on cliched headlines for his NewsBusters posts. And not a particularly wide selection of cliches, either: Certain terms pop up on a distressingly regular basis.

For instance, variations on the term "smack down." In a single 30-day period in September and October 2010, Sheppard cranked out these suspiciously similar headlines:

Even after that explosion of cliche abuse, Sheppard couldn't let go of it, making regular use of the term in 2011:

If people weren't getting smacked down in Sheppard's imagination, mostly for the offense of being insufficiently conservative, they were being "schooled." Sheppard regularly abused that headline in recent months as well:

Schooling employees on how to avoid using -- and overusing -- cliches, it seems, is not part of the MRC "media research" training. Perhaps is should be.

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