Hey, Washington Post, We’re Not Best Pals. Enough With This “We” Stuff.

By Jack Limpert

The start of Kathleen Parker’s column in today’s Washington Post:

Why we can’t dismiss Donald Trump

Donald Trump can’t help himself. Nor can we.

The “worse” he gets, it seems, the better we like it. Watching Trump is so deliciously awful, we don’t hang on every word. We hang on the edge of our seats waiting for the next word….
As I’ve said before, on mornings when Post writers suggest the writer and reader are best pals, I can’t help but replay the old Lone Ranger joke in which the Lone Ranger and Tonto find themselves staring up at canyon walls filled with hostile Indian warriors. The Lone Ranger turns to Tonto and says, “What do we do now, Tonto?” Tonto says, “What do you mean we, Kemosabe?”

The biggest problem with the Post’s continued overuse of the “we” construction is that the paper has close to 400,000 daily circulation, with maybe twice that many readers, and only a small number may feel all that much close kinship with any Post writer.

The downside of the “we” approach is that it can turn off readers. I always want to tell Post columnists don’t assume we’re best pals and I want you to do my thinking for me.
I asked an editor who worked at a good newspaper outside of Washington how he handled “we” writers. He said:

The paper had many problems but the use of “we” wasn’t one of them. Most of my writers who considered themselves columnists tried to fall in love with “I” instead.

Kathleen Parker’s “we” isn’t the royal version; it’s her way of saying she speaks for the nation.

And, yes, that kind of writing drives me crazy.

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