I don’t read Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. The sensationalist approach would probably be quite amusing, but the writing is usually so bad that I simply can’t watch. That said, when the compulsive reader is grabbing a slice of raisin toast in the office kitchen and sees a tabloid newspaper sitting on the counter, chances are she’s going to look.
And so I can report that in its edition for Friday 10 July 2009, on the front page no less, The Daily Telegraph used the word “decimated” correctly.
I suspect they didn’t mean to, the headline “Flu Wipeout” suggests quite the opposite intention. But that is what happened.
“The NSW workforce is being decimated by swine flu with predictions it could wipe out more than half of all workers.”
“Health experts predict every worker will be sick with the flu at least twice over the next three months, with 10 per cent of the state’s work force currently off sick.”
Ye gods! Ten per cent off sick. The workforce (or work force, the subbies seem to be hedging their bets on that one) is indeed decimated.
[I’m not so keen on the health experts’ prediction though. I’ve had the flu only once in my life and it was terrifying. Twice in three months is more than I want to contemplate.]