Joe Littrell alerted me to an amusing piece on slate.com
which takes the air out of a Boston Globe story
about the disturbing trend of "Vicious Attacks By Girl Cliques Seen Increasing." Jack Shafer points out that the article contradicts its premise in its own subtitle, where it admits, "Despite Police Statistics, Violence Causing Worries." In other words, police statistics show that girl-on-girl violence is decreasing, but the article tries to spin it the other way, presumably because a rise in girls fighting each other sounds more intriguing, especially when you can lead off with vivid descriptions of girls fighting such as this one:
They use fists, knives, and razors to hurt each other. Before fights, they smear their faces with petroleum jelly so their adversaries' fingernails glide off the slick surface and won't cause scars.
The Boston Globe article manages to use two of the journalistic ploys that I list in Hippo Eats Dwarf
: The phony crime wave (in which reporters grab readers' attention on slow news days by reporting crimes that would normally go unmentioned), and the generalization from a single example (in which the reporter claims to have discovered a trend, based on a sample size of one or two examples).