idiom watch: "riding the tire swing"/"swinging on the tire" etc.

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Oct 17 12:34:17 UTC 2008

A new collective noun:  Ä swing of reporters".  (examples from Nunberg below.)


At 10/17/2008 02:58 AM, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
>Coined by a Talking Points Memo reader "to describe a reporter who has
>gotten way too cozy with a politician and has had their supposed
>objectivity affected."
>The reference is to a youtube video posted by Meghan McCain in March
>2008 (see
>Yesterday we hosted the press corps at our cabin in Sedona and my dad
>grilled his famous ribs and chicken for them. And it was a really fun
>experience. I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than it
>ended up being because anytime there’s a big group of press around you
>have to be ‘on’ in some context or another. But everyone really
>relaxed and it was really fun to kind of see, you know, big
>journalistic figures like Holly Bailey [of Newsweek] swinging on the
>tire swing and Jon Martin [of], like, helping my dad
>grill ribs and it was really funny to see just, like, the
>juxtaposition of, like, the D.C. reporters at my cabin in Sedona and
>having the press corps meet longtime friends.
>The expression was picked up by Josh Marshall and quickly adopted by
>bloggers to describe  journalists who uncritcally take their lead from
>the McCain campaign. It's occasionally used of Obama as well ("Gwen
>Ifill on Obama's Tire-Swing"). "'Tire swing' mccain" gets ca. 600
>hits, a large number in this sense. Syntactically versatile: variants
>include "the tire swing that dare not speak its name," "Those of Us
>Who Are About to Tire Swing," "Where's the happy little tire swing,"
>etc. Examples:
>Judging by Mark Halperin, John McCain's tire swing is going to get
>crowded again pretty fast. The focus on ads rather than actual
>statements by the candidates ignores the whoppersMcCain and Palin
>continue to offer on the campaign trail, but it allows pundits to draw
>an equivalence and appear "balanced." Tapped (American Prospect blog)
>I don't want to alarm anyone. But you should be aware there's a
>significant chance we'll see some real tire-swinging from tonight's
>moderator Tom Brokaw. Brokaw is a pro with a long and distinguished
>career. But he does appear to have a real thing for the tire-swing.
>Talking Points Memo
>Richard Cohen jumps waaaaaaaaaay off the tire swing.I mean, this is
>betrayed lover counter-tire-swingism. Left Word
>CNN has always been on McCain's tire swing. When they stray they get
>denied interviews. Anyone Rants
>Geoff Nunberg
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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