But what the Obama administration exhibits is quite different: Institutional sloppiness. It’s one thing for an individual to sometimes make mistakes; it’s quite another when a large organization repeatedly churns them out. And let’s place this in perspective.
Some may note that Internet news and commentary websites are rife with mistakes as well, and this is true. However, this is often a function of manpower. Most e-zines simply do not have the staff necessary to achieve near perfect presentation, as they usually operate on a shoestring budget. In contrast, if you write for even a small magazine, their superior finances allow for tremendous oversight. A piece will be filtered through a number of different editors. It then may be returned to the writer for review, allowing him to assess the editorial changes and make a few more alterations before the work ever makes it into print. The result of this collaborative process is that you really can cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s.
Now, the fact that the Obama administration isn’t achieving quality even approaching that of a small magazine is striking. This is the White House, remember, with the endless resources government provides. Hasn’t the person or people writing Obama’s press releases ever heard of a spell-check program? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to have at least two different individuals proofread the material before disseminating it to the whole world? Such institutional sloppiness is inexcusable.
Some may say I’m being picayune, that this is much ado about nothing. But if you think this sloppiness somehow magically limits itself to the issuance of press releases, then you’d probably believe that Michelle Obama buys her sneakers at Wal-Mart. In point of fact, it tells us something about those at the helm of our listing nation.
It’s not that they’re stupid. A genius, even a responsible one, can transpose letters while typing just as he can fail to spot the misspelling of a type of starchy tuber. But when such errors are consistently made by large groups of people working together, that institutional sloppiness, it bespeaks a lack of conscientiousness and attention to detail, an absence of the desire to uphold standards.