As I monitored Fox and Friends this morning my ears perked up every time the Three Stooges mentioned the train derailment in Ontario, Canada, because that’s only about 15 miles from my last Canadian address, before I moved back to the States 7 years ago. All morning long they’ve been locating the train tragedy, in which 3 are confirmed dead so far and dozens injured, as in Ontario, Canada “just north of Niagara Falls.” The Three Stooges, who complain about the president using a teleprompter, will read anything on their teleprompter, no matter how inaccurate it may be. However, this is sloppy tee vee “news” writing, and I say that as a 10-year veteran of tee vee news writing. Take a look at the map and then I’ll break down the 4 simple words “just north of Niagara Falls” like I were Tosh.0:
Does that look like it's “just north of Niagara Falls”? Just north of Niagara Falls would put it in the middle of Lake Ontario. Yes, one could argue that it’s technicality north of Niagara Falls, if one just drew a line horizontally on a map. However, it's really a lot east and a slight bit north, 48.1 miles away from Niagara Falls, which isn't “just” north, or “just” east, or “just” near enough to the Falls to use it as a marker. As a former newswriter I understand the writer's desire for shorthand, to give viewers a place they will know. However, Burlington, Ontario, where the accident happened, is 4 times more populous than Niagara Falls, N.Y., which is even smaller than Niagara Falls, Ontario. It’s a big, sprawling, suburban city when compared to the tourist town of Niagara Falls. But, I get it. Saying "Burlington, Ontario" wouldn't be helpful to most Fox viewers either. However, saying “35 miles west of Toronto” pegs it for everyone and, in fact, is closer than Niagara Falls, 50 miles from the derailment. One could add “along the passenger rail line that connects Niagara Falls with Toronto” or “near Lake Ontario” and almost every viewer could place that on their internal map. This was just sloppy "news" writing and there's a lot of that kind of thing on Fox News.
However, I will probably never have another opportunity to play this classic Vaudeville comedy bit from The Three Stooges. Therefore:
“East, West, North, South, in, out, above, under, in the tangent, close to the sphere, in the vicinity… What’s an ignoramus, Kelly?”