Did success peak in 2004?

POSTED IN misc | TAGS : , , 13 August 2009

One of the quirks of news reporting that amuses me most is when things are “hailed a success”. It a lovely phrase to report on all sorts of projects, especially where the success or failure conditions weren’t laid out before-hand or, in my suspicious mind, for projects that the numbers show weren’t that successful at all. Big government or quango projects get this treatment a lot.

Because “hailed a success” just means that someone said it, not that anything actually succeeded. Often the person doing the hailing is the organiser, minister, councillor, officer or administrator responsible. how convenient.

I wish I had the time to check for actual success every time the phrase comes up, or the technical nous to make it happen automatically – it would make a great failcamp project. For now I’m contenting myself with a little Google News search for the phrase, so I can giggle at the most outrageous collusion.

From the graph it seems that success peaked in 2004.

  • http://www.eyeonmoseley.co.uk/ Daz

    Whilst it does look like you're right about 2004, does anyone really use the phrase “hailed a success”?

    I would have thought the more conventional phrase is “hailed as a success”.

    Which also peaked in 2004.

    Interestingly “hailed as success” indicates a massive dip in 2004.

    There you go.

  • http://www.jonbounds.co.uk Jon Bounds

    I think you tend to lose the “as” in headlines. This is a combined search that dos indeed suggest that the world has steadily got less successful since 2004: http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=%22haile

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