Unexpected? Again?

They keep using this word, “unexpectedly”.

The number of newly-laid off workers seeking jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, as the economy recovers at a slow and uneven pace.


Everything is “unexpected” with these people, unless the President has an R after his name, at which point, no good economic news will go unpunished, and no bad economic news will be “unexpected.”

Layoffs have slowed and the economy began to grow in last year’s third quarter, but companies are reluctant to hire new workers. The unemployment rate is 10 percent and many economists expect it to increase in the coming months.

That’s “recovery.”


Ed Morrissey wonders if someone can find the press a new adverb.

Instapundit writes: But how can it be “unexpected” if it’s just due to an administrative backlog?

I wonder what Chesterton would say about such unimaginative reportage, and such overused words?

The curse of all journalism, but especially of that yellow journalism which is the shame of our profession, is that we think ourselves cleverer than the people for whom we write, whereas, in fact, we are generally even stupider. But this insolence has its Nemesis; and that Nemesis is well illustrated in this matter of reporting.

For the journalist, having grown accustomed to talking down to the public, commonly talks too low at last, and becomes merely barbaric and unintelligible. By his very efforts to be obvious he becomes obscure.

Then again, Chesterton did not put on airs.

At the end of a lecture in America, an admirer of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, astonished by his vast knowledge, asked how he came to know so much. “Madam”, he replied, “I know nothing. I am a journalist”.

Meanwhile, here is something “unexpected” – at least to to Mort Zuckerman, but here is the money quote:

He’s improved America’s image in the world. He absolutely did. But you have to translate that into something. Let me tell you what a major leader said to me recently. “We are convinced,” he said, “that he is not strong enough to confront his enemy. We are concerned,” he said “that he is not strong to support his friends.”

What? How incoherent is that? How can he have “improved America’s image” in the world -unless you mean on a very superficial and empty level- when the world is saying, essentially, “he’s a weak and rather fickle horse.”

I’m glad I don’t live in Zuckerman’s world ,where one must reconcile conflicting information, everyday, into something that both validates a narrative, and invalidates it, simultaneously.

Moe Lane: grouses

Melissa Clouthier on something else the press finds “unexpected”. Beautiful child.

Now THIS is unexpected!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention The Anchoress | A First Things Blog -- Topsy.com

  • http://threebeerslater.blogspot.com Richard McEnroe

    How about:

    “The number of newly-laid off workers seeking jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week AT AN ALMOST REPUBLICAN RATE, as the economy recovers at a slow and uneven pace.”

    Might as well suggest something they might actually use.

  • http://www.aol.com exhelodrvr

    Putting makeup on changes something’s appearance, but doesn’t change what’s underneath. Obama hasn’t made any real changes to America’s foreign policies – if you agreed with them before, you still will. If you don’t, his being in the office hasn’t changed anything.

    But his dithering on decisions, and backtracking on promises, even if you agree with the final outcome, shows weakness. Which invites opposition.

  • Elizabeth K.

    I agree. What actually struck me about the piece you quoted from was the deep sense of dismay and disappointment. I completely share this feeling, and I’ve been expressing it to diehard Democrats (I used to be one, until this last election, actually) usually to no avail. I am just so, so, so disappointed–and I didn’t really go into it with high hopes. But, frankly, I’ve been hoping to be proven wrong. I don’t want this to be happening. I’m afraid for our country,because I don’t see a lot of people out there who can right the ship. To me, Palin has Obama-esque problems, and I’m not really sure the Republicans as a whole get it either, beyond seeing an opportunity (an opportunity so ably supplied by the stupid Dems). I just feel rather sad for us, right now.

  • J

    Do you remember how people told us they were with us on 9/11? And someone, I don’t remember who, wrote “they are with us ONLY when we are on our knees”. Is that, perhaps, how obama has improved our image in the world?

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ jan


    Best movie of all time.

  • Skay

    Obama’s past ( just the part that we can actually find out) told us who he was and his extreme idiology.

    Amazing that many voters did not care nor understand what that would mean for this country.

    It was all about “someone” who actually does not exist.

  • Pingback: There ought to be one day — just one — where there is open season on senators. « Temple of Mut

  • expat


    Here in Germany, it’s something like what you described. But you also have to remember that the people get their info from European who are accurately described by Chesterton’s comments.

  • http://sevenoaks-jeanne.blogspot.com/ Jeanne

    This reminds me of the dialogue from the movie, The Princess Bride.

    Vezzini: “Inconceivable!”
    Inigo: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Just replace “inconceivable” with “unexpectedly” and you’ll see what I mean.

  • http://www.erud-awakening.blogspot.com Gina

    Fickle and superficial is all it ever was. I don’t know if I’m relieved to see these expressions of disappointment, because it means people are finally waking up to what some of us saw about Obama all along, or if it makes me more dismayed to be reminded how long the illusions persist.

  • NanB

    I love “Princess Bride” !

  • EdGi

    “unexpected”, ah, by whom? By the way, that “weak horse” quote is a very deliberate play by Zuch the previously blind faith believer in Osama’s justification for attacking us. Sadly right, ObiWon’s bowing submission to our violent nutter enemies is going to get us nuked because, like Osama, they argue we will submit to violence. “weak horse”= Bad Things.

  • NanB

    The only things that have changed are the number of jobs going overseas and the economy going downhill. Will anything be done about that?

  • Meremortal

    The word that always comes to me when I think of Obama is “almost.” Maybe in his State of the Union speech he can brag about how he almost:

    closed Gitmo
    got cap + Trade passed
    helped Corzine get reelected
    moved decisively on Afghanistan
    got healthcare passed
    got the Olympics for Chicago
    got Coakley elected
    created jobs

    The list goes on and on…

  • 11B40


    “Unexpected” is the flip side of the Obama coin. The otherside is “unprecendented”.