Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Media Matters uncritically reproduced Brooks count/mass error

In an October 25 entry on the Media Matters for America web site, Media Matters repeated claims by New York Times columnist David Brooks that "the amount of American people who have heard about Karl Rove is small." Media Matters disputed the factual claim, but failed to report that Brooks was committing a grammatical error by using 'amount', a mass noun measurement, to refer to 'people', who are discrete entities. From the Tuesday Media Matters site:
New York Times columnist David Brooks claimed that the grand jury investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame is "not a politically important story" because "[t]he amount of American people who have heard about Karl Rove is small." But contrary to Brooks's comments, made on the October 23 broadcast of ABC's This Week, recent public opinion polls indicate that the public is well aware of the White House senior adviser and that many have formed an opinion of him.


  1. Grand Jury testimony of Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS), leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor). How much will COSTUS cost us?

    It is posted at: Karl Rove Says Who Leaked First

    Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret.
    Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

  2. Aha...now Emily's comment makes sense. I should have come here first.
    Count me among the people who get annoyed by fewer/less and amount misusage.
    Although, now I'm paranoid that I made some other unforgivable grammatical error in this comment.

  3. That's one of the grammatical errors that annoys me most. Grr.