Where\'re the Weasel Words?

Half Sigma links to an article in the New York Times about the decision by the national leadership of the Delta Zeta sorority to expel 23 or the 35 members of the DePauw University chapter, allegedly because they were too unattractive:

Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta’s national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.

The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men---conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they quit.

“Virtually everyone who didn’t fit a certain sorority member archetype was told to leave,” said Kate Holloway, a senior who withdrew from the chapter during its reorganization.

There's one phrase in the excerpt above which raised a huge red flag, leading me to suspect that the author was using weaselly phrasing to insinuate something that simply wasn't true. Further research proved my suspicion correct. I'll post the details tomorrow, but I thought this might make for an fun exercise in critical reading. What's the offending phrase, and what significant fact does it obscure? No fair answering if you've seen my comments on this story elsewhere.

Share this