“It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.”
— George Orwell
Is it torture or harsh interrogation tactics? National Public Radio ombudsman Alicia Shepard told MPR Midmorning host Kerri Miller she’ll have a piece on her online column later today because “NPR listeners are furious that we’re not calling a spade a spade.”
So the timing was perfect for today’s Midmorning hour on how our language has been politicized, and how a point of view creeps into the journalism.
At MPR, for example, pro-choice and pro-life and no-no’s. Instead, we use phrases such as legalized abortion. Of more recent vintage is the controversy over the use partial birth abortion. It is a virtually endless debate.
That said, here’s a list of the words or phrases that came up in this morning’s broadcast, either from the guests — Shepard and Karlyn Kohrs Campbell from the University of Minnesota — or callers. Add your own below.
Public option vs. government takeover
Disabled person vs. Person with disabilities
Enhanced interrogation technique
Fee vs. tax
Regime vs. government