Thursday, September 29, 2011

Political language (2)

Political language is language that is deliberately unclear. Politicians often use political language to hide inconvenient facts. For example, as Mike Holmes points out, when Afghan soldiers or civilians shoot down a U.S. military helicopter, many U.S. politicians (and reporters who ape them) refer to the event as a “helicopter crash.”

The term “helicopter crash” deceptively suggests an accident. The accurate term is a “shoot down” or a “kill”; both terms suggest that soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan are willing and able to kill airborne members of the occupying U.S. military.

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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