Taking a swipe at our headline

August 1, 2011

Driver swipes L.A. police cruisers, injures 4 officers

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Four Los Angeles police officers were injured on Saturday, one of them critically, when a 64 year-old woman who may have been asleep at the wheel struck their cruisers, police said.

Your headline is misleading. It would lead one to believe the driver stole the police cars, rather than hit them in an accident.

May I respectfully suggest that it be rewritten?

Steve L.

My dictionary’s first definition of the verb swipe is to strike or move with a sweeping motion, which is what the story was about.

If he had actually stolen the cars, as you presumed, I suspect we would have used “steals” rather than “swipes” in the headline: GBU Editor

Los Angeles Police Department cars are lined up at Dodger Stadium before the game against the Saint Louis Cardinals in Los Angeles, California, April 14, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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I know what the dictionary says but I also know the vernacular, where “swipe” means to steal.

When I read the headline on Google News I was misled to thinking that someone had stolen two police cars.

“Driver hits L.A. police cruisers, injures 4 officers” would have been less ambiguous.

But maybe it’s just me.

Anyhow, thanks for your time and attention to this rather trivial matter.

Posted by AlsoRan | Report as abusive

I think “sideswipe” would have been a better word to use.

sideswipe |ˈsīdˌswīp|
1 a glancing blow from or on the side of something, esp. a motor vehicle.
2 a passing critical remark about someone or something.
verb [ trans. ]
strike (someone or something) with or as if with a glancing blow : Curtis jerked the wheel hard over and sideswiped the other car.

Posted by michael-M | Report as abusive