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February 02, 2005

Adventures In Journalism: Show Us Your Tits!

There's nothing quite like a picture of small, seemingly defenseless bird posed against a snowy backdrop when it comes to illustrating the chill hand of Mother Nature in action.

"Tremble, frail humanity, before my onslaught!" she says. " Pee as you might, still my wrath will overcome you, blanketing your cities and roads, collapsing your telephone lines and causing power blackouts!"

"Tremble, and be forewarned! For all your struggles against my white blanket of death will be condensed by the Associated Press into a four line caption at the bottom of a photograph destined to make people the world over pause for a moment, declare "Poor wee thing!' and surf onwards."

We'll Always Have Parus
A European goldfinch sits on snow covered tree branches in a Bucharest park Sunday
Jan. 30 2005. Romania was hit by snow storms starting this weekend with many national
roads closed and trains delayed due to weather conditions. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

And furthermore! That avian will be misidentified! For that is what the AP does best! Though they have many, many competitors!

And nothing pisses off Mother Nature, not to mention some small number of her more anally-minded devotees, as when a news service looks at one animal and calls it another, like the AP does with the "European goldfinch."

To the AP: This is a European Goldfinch, you dolts.

They don't look much alike, do they? In fact, almost any North American with a bird feeder could make a better stab at identifying the bird in the upper picture than the A.P. does, despite the allegedly vast skills and fathomless depth of the AP's reportorial pool.*

"That's a...... That's some kind of weird chickadee," they would say, in various and sundry regional accents, accents at once humorous and yet somehow pleasing to the non-British ear. And they would be right, for our chickadees belong to the same avian family-- the Paridae--as the AP's misidentified bird.

In Europe, members of the Paridae are not called chickadees, but rather "tits." In Romania alone one can find a number of them, including the Bearded Tit, the Long-tailed Tit, the Marsh Tit, Sombre Tit, Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, and the Blue Tit, though none of those tits happen to the tit in question.

That tit is none other than the Great Tit, the largest tit in the Tit family, and one of the most common tits in Europe, a continent practically overflowing with tits. Why, there are over 1.6 million pairs of tits in Great Britain alone.

Typical of the AP, not to know a tit when one is practically staring them in the face. Boobs, the lot of them.

*I will give the AP this. Their repeated inability to identify common species of animals is unfathomable.

Posted by Bigwig at February 2, 2005 03:22 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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Comments

that's a blue tit. (you tit) :-D

Look at the one stripe on the wing for confirmation

Posted by: oxyscot at February 2, 2005 05:03 PM

OK, I'm the tit then. Great tit it is.

Posted by: oxyscot at February 2, 2005 05:05 PM

I think you just qualified as a potential AP reporter, man. :)

Not to mention a verra grrrreat tit indeed.

Posted by: Bigwig at February 2, 2005 05:14 PM

In my (somewhat poor) defense...

We called all of those blue tit's when I was growing up.

Posted by: oxyscot at February 2, 2005 05:16 PM

Indeed it is a Great Tit.

And I hear further (from the BBC) that tits of the feathered variety are doing so well in the UK that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is exhorting people to put up more bird-boxes for them wherever they can to solve the "housing crisis" - a sentiment any suburbanite in the UK can sympathise with.

Posted by: TheaLogie at February 7, 2005 07:52 PM

Hey, love the post! Tried to trackback but it was kicked out as spam. You must be tight on the trackbacks, first time I have ever been spamblocked.
DKK

Posted by: LifeTrek at May 24, 2005 08:29 PM
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