Thursday, June 12, 2008

Now Just How Fast Was He Going?

We have two competing newspapers in this city, highly unusual. I think only a dozen cities can claim such, and not only do they compete, but each one’s primary goal for the last 30 years is to put the other out of business.

Normally, their police reports are identical; how much different can facts be? The way they are written, what each reporter sees as the important angle, will vary in some cases, but facts are facts.

Until today.

They agreed that a Hazleton man was trying to flee from the police. One paper went into far more detail than the other, but both agreed that it was a high-speed incident. But just how high was the speed? Newspaper #1 said the chase “reaches speeds of 183 mph,” while paper #2 reported he “sped away at a speed in excess of 120 mph.”

Well, 183 is certainly in excess of 120. But we’re not talking about the Pocono 500, which had already taken place, and this one was on state and/or county roads after midnight.

“…speeds of 183 mph, the criminal complaint says.” Yeah, but: “…in excess of 120 mph, the criminal complaint says.”

I bet they ended up doing laps at Pocono.


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