Thursday, September 1, 2011

Political language (1)

Political language is language that is deliberately unclear. Politicians often use political language to hide inconvenient facts.

For example, during the U.S. military’s occupation of Iraq, U.S. citizens became accustomed to hearing and reading the political term improvised explosive device, a pompous euphemism for homemade bomb.

Most U.S. politicians (and reporters who ape them) avoid using the straightforward term homemade bomb because it reveals an inconvenient fact: Iraqi civilians are killing U.S. soldiers occupying Iraq. In other words, Iraqi civilians are doing what U.S. civilians would do to Iraqi soldiers occupying the U.S.

The Takeaway: If you write or talk like a politician, intelligent readers or listeners will suspect you are hiding something, even if you are not. To be taken seriously, use straightforward language.

See disclaimer.

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