Two recent events have generated many media reports exemplifying the continuing decline of our national language skills. The fact that these errors appear across written and broadcast media suggests that the problem is widespread. It is particularly irritating when the experienced journalists fronting news broadcasts read out the scripts put in front of them knowing that what they are saying makes no sense. Surely they must know, at least by the second time of broadcasting, that there is something wrong?
The two events of which I write are the downing of flight MH17 (apparently by missile, when overflying a war zone at 33,000 feet) and the conflagration in Gaza. In both cases there is dispute between the parties about who is to blame; the BBC and print media report “both sides blame each other.”
I think what they mean to say is that “each side blames the other” or, less elegantly, “both sides blame the other”. What they have actually said is that each side blames itself as well as the other. GRR.