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Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy?

60% of new words in 2009 Collegiate were born before today’s college students

‘New’ words average age — 29 years

Austin, TX July 16, 2009, (MetaNewswire) – Is Merriam-Webster its own worst frenemy? The answer to that question can perhaps be answered by the upcoming release of its Collegiate DictionaryEleventh Edition with the addition of almost 100 new words and word meanings (or senses).  The average of these “new words” is twenty-nine years, according to Merriam-Webster’s itself.

The ‘new’ words (with their dates of first usage) include:

New Word or Term First Usage

Carbon footprint 1999

Flash mob 1977

Green-collar 1990

Locavore 2005

Memory foam 1987

Missalette 1977

Reggaeton 2002

Sock puppet 1959

Waterboarding 2004

Webisode 1997

These are ‘new’ words only insofar as they were never included in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate, but on average, the words were coined more than 29 years ago (according to M-W’s own definitions). This compares with the average age of today’s college students in the mid-twenties (even with the recent shift to older students).

On the web, ‘waterboarding’ has some 2,000,000 references, ‘webisode’ about 5,000,000 and ‘sock puppet‘ some half million (according to Google). Last year ‘dark energy’ was added to the Collegiate Dictionary some ten years after it had become the subject of much scientific, philiosophical and popular debate. (It had about 10,000,000 references at the time.)

“This is perhaps why students are evermore turning to online resources to understand current affairs and class materials. The reality of today’s Internet-based communications means that new English-language words are appearing and being adopted at an ever-quickening pace,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “It is entirely possible some of these students heard or even used some of these words while they were still in grammar school”.

To celebrate the coming of age of English as the first, true, global language, The Global Language Monitor announced the 1,000,000th word to enter the English language on June 10, 2009. GLM estimates that a new word appears every 98 minutes, generated by the 1.5 billion people who now use English as a first, second or business language.

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Analysis: Seismic Shift to Internet in the Reporting

.of News as Evidenced by Death of Michael Jackson

The Death of Michael Jackson has become a case study in the growing disparity between the mainstream global media and their newer Internet incarnations,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.

The world has, indeed, witnessed a seismic shift in the reporting, analysis, and selection of news as evidenced by the recent death of Michael Jackson. In this regard, it appears as if the people have ‘voted with their clicks’ that the Internet is now an equal (if not senior) partner to the global print and electronic media.

London Telegraph:  Michael Jackson’s Death Second Biggest Story of Century

The cyber-reporting of recent events in Iran only underscores this new (and growing) phenomenon.”

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Analysis:  Michael Jackson funeral tops those of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa

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Measured Global Print and Electronic Media from Day of Death to Day after Funeral

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Austin, TX July 9, 2009– In an exclusive analysis performed by the Global Language Monitor, the death of Michael Jackson, the entertainment icon, has been found to be the Top Funeral in the Global Print and Electronic Media over the last dozen years . Jackson moved ahead of Pope John Paul II, whose funeral in 2005 previously set the standard.

The results follow:

  1. Michael Jackson, June 25 – July 8, 2009
  2. Pope John Paul II, April 2 – April 9, 2005
  3. Ronald Reagan, June 5 – June 10, 2004
  4. Mother Teresa, September 5 – September 14, 1997
  5. Princess Diana, August 31 – September 7, 1997

The death, aftermath, and funeral of Michael Jackson had some 18% more stories in the global print and electronic media than that of Pope John Paul II in 2005. The analysis covered the Top 5,000 print and electronic media sites, but excluded blogs and social media since they did not have a significant presence throughout the entire period of measurement.

“The death of Michael Jackson, and the media frenzy surrounding of its aftermath and his funeral, has moved Michael Jackson to the forefront of coverage of similar prominent deaths over the last dozen years,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. Other prominent passings include those of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. “The strength (and depth) of the global media coverage only adds to his already significant legacy and shows no sign of abetting.”

When measured in terms total web presence, Jackson outdistances Ronald Reagan, at No. 2, by more a factor of 10.

The results follow:

  1. Michael Jackson, died in 2009
  2. Ronald Reagan, died in 2004
  3. Pope John Paul II, died in 2005
  4. Princess Diana, died in 1997
  5. Mother Teresa, died in 1997

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Why Webster’s inclusion of the phrase ‘dark energy’

demonstrates the obsolence of old-style dictionaries

Austin, TX July 8, 2008  —  Recently, Merriam-Webster announced the new words it was including in its latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary.  These announcements are often viewed as a subject of amusement, with such additions as “air quotes,” “mental health day,” and “malware” to name but three of the hundred or so words added this year.

What did not amuse us, however, was the addition of the phrase “dark energy”.  You see dark energy is the hypothetical entity that makes up nearly three-quarters of the energy-mass of the Universe.  Moreover, it is the suspected culprit in the speeding up of the expansion of the Universe, which for reasons unknown, began to radically accelerate some five billion years ago.  It is key to the current understanding (and investigation) of the theoretical construct of the Universe, how it began — and how it will end.

Students of physics, philosophy, and cosmography at fine institutions such as Bucknell, the University of Texas, CalTech, and Foothills Community College, among all the others worldwide, have been pondering the phenomenon of dark energy for nearly a dozen years now.  However, they couldn’t look it up in their Funk & Wagnalls (nor their Webster’s) until now — because it was not recognized as a bona fide word.

Clearly, the methodologies of old-style dictionaries, first formulated by  Dr. Johnson in the 18th century and Noah Webster at the dawn of the nineteenth, and carried on to this day by their immediate and legitimate successors, have run their course.

Students on wired campuses can google dark energy and see it come up in nearly 10,000,000 results.  It is clearly a recognized phrase, clearly used by millions across the planet, embedded in learned papers, scientific studies, and contemporary letters.  And yet it was still not considered a legitimate word or phrase of the English Language, until the honor was bestowed upon it by the esteemed editors of Merriam-Webster.

Perhaps, it is time to realize that not only the game but he playing field, itself, has been drastically altered.  The center no longer holds.  This is undoubtedly spured on by the interconnectedness and immediacy of the Internet, and the explosion of the English language which now has some 1.35 billion speakers.  Clearly, new words and phrases are being created at an ever increasing rate.  It is now time to recognize the worthy few in a time-worthy manner: in step with their creation, development, and subsequent dispersal into our ever-expanding tongue.

 — Paul JJ Payack

Death of John Paul II, South Asian Tsunami, and Katrina

San Diego, California (December 16, 2005) The coverage of the Death of John Paul II, the South Asian Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina were cited as the Top Global Media Stories for 2005 in terms of Immediate Impact. The rankings were based on the Global Language Monitor’s PQ (Predictive-quantities) Indicator.

Over the course of the year, the Top Ten Global Media Stories were Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath; The Iraq War and the ongoing story of the Iraqi people; and the controversy over Global Warming and Climate Change were named the top three stories, followed closely by the South Asian Tsunami; Asian/Bird Flu and the possibility of a global pandemic; and the continuing emergance of China on the world stage. The complete list is found below.

The Global Media, both new and old, electronic and print, Internet and Blogosphere was nearly submerged in the flood of events in 2005,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global language Monitor. “We know that the news cycles are ever quickening because of the 24-hour news phenomenon as well as the new media and the Internet. However, this year it appeared that the news itself cascaded at ever increasing rates.”

The PQ (Predictive-Quantities) Indicator is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Top Media Stories for 2005 (Immediate Impact) follow:

1. Death of John Paul II

2. South Asian Tsunami

3. Hurricane Katrina and its Aftermath

4. Pakistani Earthquake

The Top Ten Global Media Stories for 2005 (Over the Course of the Year) follow:

1. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath

2. The Iraq War and the ongoing story of the Iraqi people

3. Global Warming and Climate Change

4. The South Asian Tsunami

5. Asian/Bird Flu

6. The continuing emergance of China on the world stage

7. Pakistani Earthquake

8. India as the ‘back office’ to the industrialized world

9. London Subway bombings

10. French Riots

Katrina:  Media Abounds With Apocalyptic-type References

web site hit counter

Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima Top List

Refugee’ vs. ‘Evacuee’

For the Meaning and Etymology of Katrina Click Here

San Diego, Calif. September 13, 2005. MetaNewswire. In an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, the worldwide media was found to abound in Apocalyptic-type terminology in its coverage of the unfolding disaster of Hurricane Katrina in the American Gulf States.

Using its proprietary PQI (Predictive Quantities Indicator) algorithm, GLM found the ominous references to include: Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima/Nuclear bomb, Catastrophe, Holocaust, Apocalypse, and End-of-the-World.

These alarmist references are coming across the spectrum of print and electronic media, and the internet,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The world appears stunned that the only remaining super power has apparently been humbled, on its own soil, by the forces of nature.”

The global media are mesmerized by the constant bombardment of television images of apparently rampaging, out-of-control elements, apparently in control of a good part of New Orleans, as well as the inability of the authorities to keep their own people fed, sheltered, evacuated, and, even, from dying on the street.

Refugee vs. ‘Evacuee’

GLM’s analysis found, for example, that the term for the displaced, refugees, that is usually associated with places like the Sudan and Afghanistan, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral ‘evacuees,’ which was cited as racially motivated by some of the Black leadership. Accordingly, most of the major media outlets in the U.S. eliminated the usage of the word ‘refugees’ with a few exceptions, most notably, the New York Times.

The September 3 edition of The Times (London) has a story to illustrate the current state of affairs. The head: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age.”

The first 100 words sum up the pervasive mood found in the GLMs analysis of the Global Media.

AMERICA comes to an end in Montgomery, Alabama. For the next 265 miles to the Gulf Coast, it has been replaced by a dangerous and paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape, short of all the things fuel, phones, water and electricity needed to keep the 21st century switched on. By the time you reach Waveland, Mississippi, the coastal town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone. “

According to GLM’s analysis, the most frequently used terms associated with Hurricane Katrina in the global media with examples follow. The terms are listed in order of relative frequency.

  • Disaster — The most common, and perhaps neutral, description. Literally ‘against the stars’ in Latin. Example: ” Disaster bares divisions of race and class across the Gulf states”. Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Biblical — Used as an adjective. Referring to the scenes of death, destruction and mayhem chronicled in the Bible. ” …a town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation”. (The Times, London)
  • Global Warming — The idea that the hand of man was directly responsible for the catastrophe, as opposed to the more neutral climate change. “…German Environmental Minister Jrgen Trittin remains stolid in his assertion that Hurricane Katrina is linked to global warming and America’s refusal to reduce emissions.” (Der Spiegel)
  • Hiroshima/Nuclear Destruction — Fresh in the mind of the media, following the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour shows the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”. (Associated Press).
  • Catastrophe — Sudden, often disastrous overturning, ruin, or undoing of a system. “In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands”. (Washington Post)
  • Holocaust — Because of historical association, the word is seldom used to refer to death brought about by natural causes. ” December’s Asian catastrophe should have elevated “tsunami” practically to the level of “holocaust” in the world vocabulary, implying a loss of life beyond compare and as callous as this might make us seem, Katrina was many things, but “our tsunami” she wasn’t. (Henderson [NC] Dispatch)
  • Apocalypse — Referring to the prophetic visions of the imminent destruction of the world, as found in the Book of Revelations. ” Call it apocalyptic. Whatever you want to call it, take your pick. There were bodies floating past my front door. ” said Robert Lewis, who was rescued as floodwaters invaded his home. (Reuters)
  • End of the World — End-time scenarios which presage the Apocalypse. ” “This is like time has stopped Its like the end of the world.” (Columbus Dispatch)

Then there are those in the media linking Katrina with the direct intervention of the hand of an angry or vengeful God, though not necessarily aligned with Americas enemies. “The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda,” was written by a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment’s research center. It was published in Al-Siyassa. (Kuwait).

Unprecedented Global Media Outpouring

Pope John Paul II’s Passing

Record Media Outpouring

12 Million Internet Citations and 100,000 Stories in Worldwide Media

Eclipses the South Asian Tsunami, the September 11 Terrorist Attacks,

the Bush Re-election, and the Deaths of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana

Danville, Calif. April 14, 2005. The Death of Pope John Paul II has unleashed an unprecedented global media outpouring that has transformed from a groundswell into a deluge. The Global Language Monitors daily Internet and media analysis now shows that in the major global print and electronic media and on the Internet, John Paul II’s death has surpassed the initial coverage of the South Asian Tsunami, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the Bush re-election, and the Deaths of Ronald Reagan and Princess Diana, among other events that shook the world.

Since days since the Pontiffs death, there have been some 100,000 major news stories and more than 12 million Internet citations. In comparison, for the entire preceding year there were only 28,000 new stories and 1.5 million Internet citations about John Paul II.

The word historic is associated with the pontiff nearly 3,000,000 times, while conservative is associated some 1,750,000 times, and loved or beloved some 600,000 times since John Paul’s passing.

Within the first 72 hours of the Pontiff’s passing, there have been:

  • Almost 3 times as many news stories for John Paul as there were for the 9/11 Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, though in the major global media the comparison was far closer. Some ten times more news stores than were published concerning the re-election of President Bush.

In addition, within the first 72 hours of the Pontiff’s passing, there have been:

  • More than five times as many stories as initially generated for the South Asia Tsunami on December 26-29th, 2004 (though the Tsunami swell grew unabated for some time, as the horrific scale of the tragedy became apparent).

According to Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor, “Other relevant comparisons might be the deaths of Ronald Reagan in 2004 and Princess Diana in 1997. These also, were populist-type phenomena with unprecedented outpourings of grief, though on a far more localized scale.

Perhaps the root of this phenomenon lies in the fact that ordinary people came to be acquainted with this Pope unlike any other in memory. He was personable, globetrotting, at his best as a friendly parish priest, ‘writ large’. He was a truly global Pontiff, adept at using the traditional media (and the internet) to his advantage. Evidently, on his instructions, the media was even notified of his passing via text messages and e-mail.”

To arrive at these numbers, The Global Language Monitor utilizes its proprietary Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), which tracks specified words and phrases in the global print and electronic media and on the Internet. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance.

The Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture. A worldwide assemblage of linguists, professional wordsmiths and bibliophiles, supports the GLM to help monitor the latest trends in the evolution (and demise) of language, word usage and word choices.

Read: Web Flood With Pope Coverage (CNN)

Read: Pope’s Death Spurs 35,000 Stories in a Day (BusinessWeek)

Read: Basketball Attracts More Viewers Than Pope’s Death (Reuters)

Listen: The First ‘Truly Global’ Pope (Radio Renaissance: Portugal)

Listen: The Biggest Story — Ever? (The World: NPR/BBC)

How 2004 Presidential Election Impacted Americans Speech

Danville, California (November 11, 2004) MetaNewsWire The recently concluded Presidential Election of 2004 has significantly impacted the manner in which Americans communicate with each other and not always in a positive way. For the eight months leading up to the Election, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has tracked the way Americans communicate with each other about politics. To do this, GLM created its exclusive PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient), a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the print, electronic media and the Internet. Some forty words and phrases were analyzed for the Post-Election Survey, including flip flop/flopping, quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, liar!, and misleader.

The PQ Index is perhaps the most in-depth, algorithmic analysis of political word usage ever attempted during a US Presidential campaign. After meeting certain threshold criteria, the index measured how frequently the words and phrases were used in their given political contexts. Then were then tracked on a bi-weekly basis, with greater weight provided for appearances in the major media. Additionally, greater weight was assigned to changes in frequency of appearance the closer the survey came to the election, itself.

Perhaps the one point of agreement by both Republicans and Democrats in the immediate aftermath of the campaign was that moral values played a vastly more important role than had hitherto been estimated. This was re-enforced by the exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research with Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool, which distributed their information to the media through the Associated Press.

The PQ Index picked up this trend months earlier, when issues related to moral values would surface and then, actually, gain in strength as the campaign progressed. By the end of the campaign, these moral values-related words and phrases dominated the pre-Election PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient) of Hot Political Buzzwords released on November 1. Specifically, thirteen or more of the top 20 words and phrases that dominated the media in the run-up to the election, can be classified as directly related to the moral values.

Both the major parties and the mainstream media appear to be surprised at the primacy of the moral values issue atop the exit-poll surveys, though they have used the terms tracked in the PQ Index some hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times in the preceding month. What led to this miss was that fact that the moral values question was narrowly interpreted to mean the gay marriage and the Mary Cheney incident. (Both Kerry and Edwards cited the sexuality of the vice presidents daughter, Mary Cheney in their debates, a move widely viewed in the subsequent polls as gratuitous.)

In fact, the idea of moral values includes media bias, flip flopping for political gain, the question of a just or unjust war, the disrespecting of a wartime president (as in Fahrenheit 911), tagging the Chief Executive as a Liar or misleader and the rise of the uncivil war in political discourse / dis-coarse. In fact, The Top Five terms in the November PQ Index can all be viewed as related to moral values, as can be seven of the Top Ten — and 13 of the Top Twenty.

Another factor has been the rampant incivility be found in the political discourse in American politics which has reached unprecedented heights or, rather, lows. It can be argued that not since the Civil War era, when President Lincoln was frequently depicted by adversaries as a gangly, gaping baboon, has the discourse sunken to such a profane level. In fact, such is the decline in the political discourse during this campaign that future historians might actually wonder if the battle being fought was between the “Blue States” and the “Red States” rather than between the forces of Terrorism and The West.

This phenomenon is also related to the “Myth of the 24-Hour News Cycle,” where it is argued that once a politically-sensitive buzzword is launched into todays media world, it seems to persist for an indeterminate period, building a kind of media momentum and extending the news cycle rather than shrinking it. This persistence seems at odds with the general perception of the media being fixated on the 24 hours news cycle.

Some of the key words and phrases that have gained visibility during the 2004 Presidential Election follow.

Colossal Error: Kerrys judgment on Bushs Iraq policy. Evidently following California Olive Growers Association Guidelines for measuring the size of olives — Large, Extra Large, Jumbo, Gigantic, Colossal and Super Colossal. This leaves wiggle room for a ‘super-colossal error’.

Flip Flop/Flopping: Formerly referred to gymnastic routines, pancakes, and dolphin acts (Flipper); now a mainstream political term.

Girlie Men: His Honor, the Governator’s, characterization of political opponents.

Global Test: Kerrys description of the bar he would set before committing the US to pre-emptive strikes

Incuriosity: The campaign season with the President being labeled as Incurious George.

Jobless Recovery: A catch=phrase belied by the creation of 2.1 million new jobs in 2004.

Liars!: Signifies the virulence of the name-calling between opponent supporters. Bush wins the ‘Liar Poll with a 2:1 lead over Kerry.

Liberal: Now looked upon as a pejorative; for future reference, please use progressive.

Mary Cheney: For better or for worse, now a household name used in more than 100,000 media citations in the preceding six weeks..

Media Bias: A contentious issue, especially when used in conjunction with the Dan Rather “60 Minutes” imbroglio.

Misleader: MoveOn.org started this all by calling the sitting president a ‘misleader’.

Moral Values: Currently in more than 4,000 media stories; widely varies in interpretation.

Political Incivility: A catch-all category for various rude directives — Cheney, Heinz-Kerry, et al. combined here.

Quagmire: A fading, Viet Nam-era term rescued from obscurity.

Red States/Blue States: Before November 2, 2004, a relatively unknown term, a shorthand used by political pundits, describing Republican-leaning states vs. Democrat-leaning states.

Rush-to-War: The short-hand by Administration opponents for the run-up to the Iraq war.

Swift Boats: Might have torpedoed Kerrys presidential aspirations. Actually, Fast Patrol Craft (PCF), small, shallow draft-water vessels operated by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.

Two Americas: John Edwards frequent of America as divided between rich and poor, the jobless and the employed, liberals (err, progressives) and conservatives.

Myth of 24-hour News Cycle

Impacts and Undermines 2004 Presidential Campaign

October Surprise of yore short-lived compared to effect of Internet

Danville, California (October 19, 2004) Though it is commonly assumed that the media is now on a 24-hour news cycle, the opposite appears to be true, according to an exclusive analysis of The Global Language Monitor’s PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient). Though the day-to-day headlines of the 2004 Presidential Campaign are relatively transient, the ideas encapsulated in the political buzzwords that GLM tracks take several months to cycle through the electronic and print media, the internet, and cyberspace, particularly the blogosphere.

Once a ‘politically-sensitive’ buzzword is launched into today’s media world, it seems to persist for an indeterminate period, building a kind of ‘media momentum’ and extending the news cycle rather than shrinking it. This persistence seems at odds with the general perception of the media being fixated on the ’24 hours news cycle’.

The PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient) released monthly by The Global Language Monitoris a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.

A current example: the PQ Index has been the tracking the “Swift Boats” issue for over six months as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Though it peaked in the last few weeks at No. 1 in the August Tracking Index with the release of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads, it remains strongly entrenched inthe Top Ten in the October survey. The evidence suggests that the issue will persist for some time to come; definitely through November 2nd.

Another example might be the labeling of President Bush as a Liar. This first surfaced in early spring as a result of ads launched by 527 organizations, such as MoveOn.org, in an action without precedent in the mainstream media, boldly labeling the sitting president a Liar. This was an early version of this years attack ads that would proliferate throughout the year, and was little noticed by the mainstream media at the time, except as a curiosity.

The ads, however, proved to be harbingers of what was to follow. Over the course of the next six months the label stuck, increasingly resonating especially on the Internet and in the blogosphere. This month the term sits at No. 11 on the PQ Index, down from No. 4 in August. In fact, Bush as Liar! is up some 1400% since the beginning of the year. An additional wrinkle is that Kerry, too, is now being labeled as a Liar! by his critics with nearly 40% of the references tracked by the PQ Index labeling the Democratic nominee as such.

Another example is the Dead and Done Presidents phenomenon. With the passing of Ronald Reagan in June and the much-anticipated publication of Bill Clintons autobiography the next month, these two former presidents, leapt to the top of the PQ Index in June and July respectively. In the October Index, they both still rank in the Top Twenty demonstrating the persistence of their long-shadows over the current campaign.

Fahrenheit, representing Michael Moores controversial film, Fahrenheit 451, took the top ranking in the July PQ Index, jumping some 400% from the previous month. Fahrenheit maintained its No. 1 position in August and currently ranks as No. 6 in the October Index. Mr. Moore, more than most, seems to have appreciated the new “Surprise” phenomenon, though for maximum impact he might have, in retrospect, released his film a month later, in August rather than July.

And now, in what could be a sign of mounting difficulties for the Democratic Presidential Campaign, this months top political buzzwords (including ‘Dan Rather-related Bias, ‘Liberal,’ Global Test,’ ‘Flip flop/flopping’ and Swift Boats) are creating an inhospitable climate, in many cases overshadowing the key messages of the Democratic Nominee, according to the October PQ Index.

In the October PQ Index, Swift Boats is actually getting more media hits and citations than all other key Kerry messages combined. These messages include; “Two Americas,” “Bush the Misleader,” “jobless recovery,” and “global outsourcing”.

With weeks remaining in the Campaign, there is a very real danger that Kerrys key messages will continue to be swamped by the “flip flop,” “Swift Boat” and “Rathergate” (and now the Mary Cheney) issues.

This is not to say that an October Surprise is not possible. Based on recent history and the uncertainty associated with al Qaeda it would be wise to expect any number of such events. However, the importance of the August Surprise with its attendant , momentum-building sustainability, should not be overlooked by current, or future, campaigns.

 — Paul JJ Payack

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