John E. McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun tells a wonderful story that may help explain why it’s so hard to convince people (journalists, in particular) “that some of their imagined rules and standard practices are without foundation”:
After my grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack in 1945, my father, Raymond McIntyre, undertook to make a go of his general store in Elizaville Kentucky.
He told me that one week the man who drove the bread truck was apprehensive. He also made deliveries to a remote little country store, and he had been accustomed to offload his stale bread there. “But last week,” he said, “I didn’t have any old bread to give them, and I delivered fresh loaves. They’re going to be mad as hell when they realize what I’ve been doing.”
The next week when the bread truck man came by, my father asked him how it had gone with the other store. And the bread man said, “They sure were mad at me. The storekeeper told me all his customers had complained and he never wanted me to deliver any of that damned raw stuff to his store ever again.”
Once you’re accustomed to journalese and its non-idiomatic practices, it sounds like natural language to you and actual English just seems wrong.
Visit his post for a funny footnote and a couple of examples of newspaper superstitions of the sort he deplores.