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Author Topic: A matter of spin?
Babbler # 3493

posted 21 April 2004 10:55 AM      Profile for evenflow        Edit/Delete Post
Hi everyone, I just wanted to post a piece from this article I read from the CBC, as an example of the ongoing 'war on language' as it were, and hopefully hear the thoughts of others on the subject.

Not to get Orwellian here, but clearly we live in times when it doesn't matter what you do, only how you describe it verbally to the masses. It could almost be considered an art form. Case in point below:

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel would continue to kill top militants. Sharon said the list of murderers it will target is not short.


And just like that, Palestinian militants 'murder' while Israel 'targets'.

It is the job of a politician, of course, to make statements like this. Clearly the statement doesn't have the same political effect when written in more plain language such as:

'Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel would continue to murder top militants. Sharon said the list of murderers it will murder is not short.'

I remember another babbler once saying something to the effect that if you want to know how much spin there is in a story involving two parties, just switch the references to those parties and re-read it. I find that much of the news is slanted heavily when I do this with news items, including those pertaining to the Middle East.

Thoughts anyone?

From: learning land | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4140

posted 21 April 2004 11:56 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sometimes misleading language get smuggled in under cover of something else. Here's an example:

anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli Hate Crimes?

Much of what I admire about the efforts of Chomsky revolve around his careful disentangling of misleading language. Clear language makes clear thinking.

One of my favourite quotes, however, goes back to 1886 and Fred Engels' English Preface to Capital by his friend and comrade, Karl Marx:

Political Economy has generally been content to take, just as they were, the terms of commercial and industrial life, and to operate with them, entirely failing to see that by so doing, it confined itself within the narrow circle of ideas expressed by those terms. (Engels then gives some examples.) ...It is, however, self-evident that a theory which views modern capitalist production as a mere passing stage in the economic history of mankind, must make use of terms different from those habitual to writers who look upon that form of production (and society!) as imperishable and final.

Years ago, when I was a "greenhorn", I used to read the column of Chris Dafoe who wrote some interesting stuff about Orwellian language.

My two bits.

From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged

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