Scare Quotes Continue to Plague Journal Editorial Writers


I have a long-standing fascination with The Wall Street Journal editorial page in general, and specifically with its inexplicable habit of placing scare quotes around any noun that the author happens to disapprove of. I like to think my column devoted to this topic a few years ago helped wean the editors of their habit, but they do backslide from time to time. A nice example can be found in Daniel Henninger’s column today:

Barack Obama and his perpetually angry Democratic “base” are the outliers on comprehensive tax reform.

To a normal English speaker, this formulation would signify that Henninger disputes the existence of a Democratic base. In Journal-ese, he’s just saying he doesn’t like Democrats.