When Smithsonian magazine ran a piece in its February issue by a couple of "language mavens" defending split infinitives and sentences that ended with prepositions, I'm sure the editors were well aware that there are some sacrosanct matters in life that you shouldn't mess with. (Whoops! Sorry about that, Teach.)
Reporting in the March issue that the essay "sparked the most response'' from some cold-blooded grammarians, the editors published a few pro-and-con letters and then went on to the workaday world of telling us about, oh... the lost tribes of the Amazon and expert observations of female elephants.
Re the split infinitive, I know the feeling. Both as a reporter and later an editor, seldom did another international crises pass without one reader or another scolding me for an abused infinitive or stray comma in the paper. Few complained about the mysterious who and whom, which, as Mitt Romney once conceded of his own words, were "not elegantly stated." I could only reply that having edited millions of words by reporters,"you should have seen the original". I suspect that there are fewer complaints about who and whom because most folks, including me, have been baffled by their usage. There are some things mortals were never meant to understand. I feel the same way about the Higgs Boson ( the so-called God Particle), semiconductors and Brunelleschi's dome.
The severe challenge of deadline journalism is that it has merciless demands that don't always work out to perfection. On several occasions as a theater critic, I was forced to dictate reviews from notes in a telephone booth with a swarm of people glaring at me. It wasn't until I read the paper the morning-after that I had a clue to what I had said.
Still deadlier to one's honor is a rewrite person at the other end misunderstanding what you have just said. After a speech by Robert Kennedy in Columbus, I dictated a story to the Washington Post in which I quoted him as saying that nuclear weapons should be defused. The Post reported it as diffused - which did make a difference, don't you think? In panic, I called when I learned of the snafu and mercifully got a correction.
Oh, we began with split infinitives, which are OK with me. I swear that language evolves. If it didn't we would be be communicating like Spenser's "The Faerie Queen." Want to start a hot argument, try spelling it that way today. I wouldn't dare want to.