Tuesday, May 17, 2005

As long as you're reforming...

Media Matters writes an open letter to the New York Times, pointing out some ways in which their handling of the news could be more balanced (in the crazy reality-based sense).
... Recently progressives, too, have begun to pay attention to the political effects of language, yet nowhere are these concerns reflected in the report. To take one well-known example, at some point conservatives decided to call tax cuts "tax relief," a moniker directly implying that all taxes are oppressive and burdensome. Barely a week goes by in which this phrase does not appear in the pages of The New York Times -- used not by a conservative activist or Republican politician, but by a reporter who undoubtedly repeats it without considering its political implications.
red-hot news!
We do not believe that you should be intimidated into changing your own language simply because conservative partisans decide to alter the lexicon. In many cases -- such as the administration's farcical renaming of "suicide bombings" to "homicide bombings" -- the Times has wisely resisted this pressure. But the Times has performed less well in soft-pedaling the administration's plans for Social Security as "personal accounts" rather than privatization, and in misattributing the phrase "nuclear option" to Democrats, when in fact the term was originated by Republicans before they thought better of it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of a really good critique (it starts a bit snarky but tightens up in a hurry). Good stuff!

(via Suburban Guerilla)

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