Zoe Williams, "With the NHS, reality has finally caught up with Theresa May", The Guardian 1/8/2018 [emphasis added]:
“If you look across the NHS, experience is different,” the prime minister flailed, as if the fact there wasn’t a stroke victim waiting for four hours in an ambulance outside every hospital was proof of her competence. “Experience is different,” she repeated, taking a moment’s refuge in a new evasive tic, of turning everything into a passive voice where nothing is the consequence of anybody’s actions. We’re just a nation of people having a set of experiences which are all different, and everybody’s working very hard because we all want things to be good.
This is far from the only example in this week's Google News index of passive confusion. Thus Albert Berneko, "ESPN: It's Bad That We Keep Squeezing Juicy Quotes Out Of LaVar Ball", Deadspin 1/10/2018:
“There’s always oxygen somewhere,” reads an article on ESPN.com this morning, criticizing the Los Angeles Lakers’ front-office muckety-mucks for their radio silence on the antics of hot-taking sports dad LaVar Ball, “and a firebrand like Ball will always find it.” This seems a bit rich, coming from the bellows. […]
The Lakers have a problem now, in ESPN’s formulation. ESPN reporters think the Lakers must do a better job of preventing LaVar Ball from making, to ESPN reporters who follow him to Lithuania, stick a microphone in his face, and ask him for his opinions on issues related to his famous sons, statements that those ESPN reporters may then parse for their most incendiary content and package as inflammatory on ESPN’s various platforms. Why are their executives so silent on this issue? What is wrong with the Lakers that they have not stopped us from making an entire factory out of the hot takes of this famous gasbag? Don’t they know that [extremely appropriate passive voice] there is always oxygen somewhere?
"Experience is different"? "There is always oxygen somewhere"? Several years ago, I published an obituary for the passive voice — "'Passive Voice' — 1397-2009 — R.I.P.", 3/12/2009:
I'm afraid that the traditional sense of passive voice has died after a long illness. It has ceased to be; it's expired and gone to meet its maker, kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. It's an ex-grammatical term. Its ghost walks in the linguistics literature and in the usage of a few exceptionally old-fashioned intellectuals. For everyone else, what passive voice now means is "construction that is vague as to agency".
Or sometimes, just "insufficiently decisive phrasing" — George Hostetter, "Scharton on City Council run: 'I think I’m going to do it.'", Central Valley Observer 1/3/2018:
Slowly but surely, Craig Scharton is losing the passive voice when discussing his political future.
I asked Scharton last week if he’s going to run this year for the Fresno City Council District 3 seat.
“I think I’m going to do it,” Scharton said.
That’s not exactly a Patton-like call to arms. But as you may recall, Scharton’s response last September to my same question was: “I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question. It’s something I’ve certainly thought about.”
Some of my colleagues continue to hope that the general public can be educated to use this term correctly — see for example Geoff Pullum's valiant tutorial post "The passive in English", 1/24/2011.
Perhaps things will change some day, in a conjectural future when schools again routinely teach grammatical analysis. For now, those of us who retain the old fashioned usage can enjoy the irony of passive-voice complaints about passive-voice usage, e.g. David Sharman, "Editor slams county’s newspapers as he launches bid to hire journalists", Hold The Front Page 1/12/2018:
In a message to potential investors, he said: “We say Somerset has been poorly served by local newspapers. Newsprint titles around here don’t look much further than their town boundaries. They are tabloid in look and tabloid in style.
“Too often ‘news’ coverage simply doesn’t ask difficult questions, it is usually written in the passive voice, it rarely dares to express an opinion or challenge what is happening. Often we read pieces that are thinly disguised press releases.