Holy cow, I wrote a book!
A trend I've noticed in journalism is
to make some sort of outrageous statement,
but then stick a question mark at the end to disavow
any responsibility for the statement.
By changing it to a question, you're avoiding actually having to back
up what you write.
"I'm not saying this is actually true.
I'm just raising the question."
For example, a headline might read
"The sign of something new?"
The author doesn't want to actually back up the claim
that the subject is the sign of something new,
so he'll just say it with a question mark.
Now the responsibility to support or refute the claim has
been shifted to you, the reader.
The question itself doesn't need to have any merit whatsoever.
In fact, you can just make up the craziest stuff imaginable;
as long as you put a question mark after it,
you're home free.
And it doesn't even need to take the form of a question!
Perhaps I should've titled this article
"Journalists are just making up stuff and printing it as if it were news?"
Bonus journalistic head-scratcher:
The word "official" appears to have taken on a meaning I was
previously unaware of.
The Microsoft Zune has gone the way of the Kin,
the Courier, and Bob.
If you actually
click through to the article's source,
click through to that article's source,
you'll see that the source is a person
"who declined to be identified because the decision hasn't
So let me see if I understand this.
They're saying that a statement is "official"
because it comes from
an anonymous person who doesn't wish to
be identified because no official statement has yet been made.
(I think my copy of
Gödel, Escher, Bach just exploded.)