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Wooing Meg Whitman

HP SuitorsReally, New York Times?

Good writers create atmosphere with word choice. Did the character dash, sprint, or scurry to the next appointment? Sunlight pierces a stabbing victim’s eyes; for a politician about to be exposed by the media, it glares. The best writers do this subtly, so that, without telling you that the character feels a sense of loneliness, you know it because she describes the furniture as solitary, the floor-to-ceiling windows that she once hoped would erase her inner walls as riot shields.

Usually this is an unconscious choice. But Michael J. de la Merced and the editors at the Times most definitely knew what they were doing when they described potential buyers for two HP units as “suitors.” Did Meg Whitman put her Electronic Data Systems on display and maybe jiggle them a little when investors came over to check them out? I would guess not. But you had better believe that no one would have used the word “suitors” if previous CEO Leo Apotheker had been the one to put HP’s goods on the market.

Another day, another stupid media portrayal of a successful woman. Onward.