Reuters’ “Scare” “Quotes”

Each of the following two lines began Nov. 15 Reuters articles. Note which one gets scare quotes, distancing the news agency from the statement from the very start of the article:

From Many Britons Think Bush is Stupid :

More than one in three Britons think George W. Bush is stupid and a majority branded the U.S. president a threat to world peace, opinion poll results published have shown .

From Israel Denounces Blasts at Istanbul Synogogues :

Israel denounced blasts at Istanbul synagogues that killed at least 20 people on Saturday as “terrorist attacks” and said it was confident Turkey would find those responsible.


Alan Jacobs on scare quotes:

Scare quotes have two functions, the first of which is quite straightforward: They allow their users very easily to express incredulity about, and often contempt for, the views of their political opponents. But they also allow those users to avoid the hard work of thinking up their own descriptions of events or people or ideas. And they’re parasitic: They suck all their nourishment from the host words, contributing nothing of their own.

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