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Fact or Opinion

Ms. Johnson:

All right, class, you heard the bell! Sit. For those of you who failed to grace us with your presence yesterday, I am returning your pop quizzes from Monday. Note that most resemble a road map due to my liberal use of the red correction pen.

Ms. Namora, what class is this? Journalism. Not Art. Please refrain from drawing smiley faces in the margins of your test paper.

Master Barns, NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not a type of sushi. F.

Ms. Flanagan, the map on page 2 is of the Middle East. The country Turkey was labeled and you were to label the other countries by name, not "a country next to Turkey." F.

Mr. Brown. Butros Butros Gali is not an airport. F.

Now. For the school paper, you were each asked to interview someone about their job. As a result, we need to issue a retraction to local Doctor David Nardin as Ms. Namora failed to recognize the difference between "Podiatrist" and "Pederast."

Master Barns, are you aware of the difference between fact and opinion? You are. How, then, do you defend your description of Lois Hines, cafeteria worker, as a "woman past her prime yet still with shapely thighs?" That is an opinion. We do not know, in fact, that Ms. Hines is past her prime and what shapely thighs are to one man are fat legs to another. Just ask my soon to be ex-husband.

A fact is something that can be proved. It is a truth and can be verified, such as California is a no fault divorce state. Fact. It is written in the civil code – black and white. So, while adultery may be morally and ethically wrong, and in my opinion should result in a large amount of alimony paid to the injured party, it does, in fact, not.

Today you were to submit your proposals as to which news related television or internet program you plan to watch weekly and critique. Hmmm. It appears Mr. Feinstein has chosen to examine TOSH 2.0. Ms. Namora; Ice Road Truckers, and Master Barns will follow “That guy on You Tube who eats bugs.”

The rest of you turned in blank sheets of paper.

F. Everyone. F.

Yesterday, we were discussing the 5 Ws of Journalism. Who remembers them?


Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Every story you write needs to address the 5 Ws. For example: Who? A man. What? A man who leaves his wife. Where? At the Olive Garden. When? On her fortieth birthday. Why? Because they've "grown apart." "To grow apart" - fact or opinion? Anyone?

Opinion. What "growing apart" means is highly subjective. I, for one, do not think "growing apart" involves tossing away a ten year marriage after shagging a wet behind the ears editorial assistant - but that, of course, is my opinion.

Now. For the remainder of class, I am going to sit at my desk and peruse NOLO Press’s “DIY Divorce.”

You are to read today's edition of the Sun Times, a paper that is, coincidentally, edited by my soon to be ex-husband. You are then to exercise your First Amendment rights by writing a heated, vitriolic Letter to the Editor, minimum of 5 pages, using the following vocabulary words: Muck-raking. Yellow Journalism. Biased, libelous, slip-shod, and lying, cheating, bastard.

And that, class, is not an opinion. That is a fact.

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