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I'll take "Are you an enviro-whacko?" for $2000, Alex

Welcome to today's edition of "How not to write a press release." It features an emission from In Defense of Animals with the title "Activists Ask Jeopardy! Game Show Host Alex Trebec: 'What is wrong with keeping elephants at the L.A. Zoo?'"
Los Angeles- On the heels of the first-ever release of medical records indicating the life-threatening physical condition of 47-year-old Gita, one of three elephants suffering at L.A. Zoo, activists will greet television game show host Alex Trebec and zoo guests to highlight the jeopardy elephants are in at the Zoo.

When: Saturday, March 19th, 8:45 a.m.
Where: Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park at main entrance
It continues on with an exciting discussion of recurring foot infections of zoo elephants. But, I'm still trying to figure out what's going on here. I assume that Alex Trebek is going to be one of the protesters. But, what are the "zoo guests" doing in there? Doesn't that imply that Alex and the zoo guests will be on the same side and will be protested against or in front of? And, doesn't the fact that activists will be asking him questions imply that he's the one being protested against? Is Alex Trebek a supporter of enzooing elephants? Frankly, that's the interpretation that I'd prefer as I'd prefer not to put America/Canada's favorite game show host in the same category as Pamela Ferdin or Linda Blair. If the IDA wants to learn how to write a good enviro-whacko press release, they should learn from the masters:
Toronto — Wearing nothing but a skimpy toga, wings, and a halo and holding a bow and arrow and a sign reading, "Have a Heart—Boycott KFC," PETA’s sexy Cupid will lead a protest outside a Toronto KFC on Valentine’s Day...
Oh yeah, that's good press release.

Los_Angeles · Wed, 04/06/2005 - 19:36 · Importance: 1

Thu, 04/07/2005 - 01:48
eh

I agree that as written the notice does not answer the obvious question about the nature of Trebek's involvement. But a reasonable person can make reasonable suppositions, which may or may not turn out to be correct of course...

"I assume that Alex Trebek is going to be one of the protesters."

Probably; since his name is mentioned, I would also assume he agreed to appear, and so is on the same page as IDA about this. And that's the way I would've phrased it: I would have said he is sympathetic to their cause, or maybe to the point they are trying to make here, which seems to be that being in a zoo can make animals sick in zoo-specific ways. I would not have said that he will be "one of the protestors", since I don't know what he will be doing there (as opposed to IDA people, who I think probably will be 'protesting').

"Doesn't that imply that Alex and the zoo guests will be on the same side and will be protested against..."

Uhh, no. And doesn't your claim of such an implication contradict the previous sentence where you assumed that Trebek would be one of the protestors?

"But, what are the "zoo guests" doing in there?"

I take "zoo guests" to be just people who will happen to pick that day to go to the zoo.

"...or in front of?"

Yeah, basically -- as far the "zoo guests" and Trebek are concerned (but again I am assuming any overt actions that might be labeled a 'protest' will not necessarily involve Trebek).

But why make a big deal out of this in the way you did? Do you think any concern about the 'environment' -- it's pretty loose usage to include a zoo in that, but then you're the one who put up "enviro-whako" (BTW, where'd the extra 'h' come from?) -- is some kind of crazy obsession? If not, when does it change from being legitimate concern to 'enviro-whako-ism'?