Klavan On The Culture

A Mainstream Media Glossary

After watching and listening to mainstream media news reports of the presidential race, you may have begun to realize that our journalists use words in a different way than the rest of us. This is because they are highly trained news experts who have developed a precise technical language in order to explain things more exactly. So to help you decipher their coverage, I’d like to offer a partial glossary of terms that may come in handy over the next couple of months.

Let’s begin with the word gaffe. Now and then you may hear a news “person” say something like, “Mitt Romney made a gaffe!” or “Mitt Romney’s foreign trip was full of gaffes!” or “Wow, that Barack Obama, he’s so darned wonderful, he never makes a gaffe!” and you may wonder what that particular word means.

Gaffe comes from the french word for “hook.” A gaffe is something a Republican says that is absolutely true, but that can be twisted like a hook to sound false or embarrassing by the journalist using the gaffe. For instance, when Mitt Romney recently said that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that cultural differences between the Israelis and Palestinians accounted for Israel’s greater success, he was trying, in his silly, fumbling way, to say that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and that cultural differences between the Israelis and Palestinians accounted for Israel’s greater success. But even though these statements are not only wholly factual but also obvious, a chronically dishonest PLO official pretended to be outraged, thus giving journalists the opportunity to put in “the gaffe.”

Another word you may hear from time to time is racist. To use it in a typical mainstream media sentence, “Some say there are reports that many people feel Jesse Jackson declared Mitt Romney’s statement is clearly racist.” The term descends to us from the Italian word razza, meaning to put your tongue between your lips and blow, because this is what most intelligent people do whenever mainstream journalists use this word.

In technical mainstream media-ese, the word racist means any statement, policy, attitude, or idea that would benefit, improve, ennoble, or otherwise enhance the lives of poor non-white Americans thus decreasing their dependency on the state. For instance:  “When Mitt Romney suggested to the NAACP that free enterprise and school choice are the surest ways to improve the lives of minorities, some said there were reports he was racist.” Used properly, the term will help ensure some minorities continue to live in poverty and dependence on the state, thus also ensuring the future of the Democratic Party and, by extension, the mainstream news media.

Now sometimes you may hear a leftist like Brian Williams say “I’m the anchor for NBC Nightly News,” or a leftist like Scott Pelley say “I’m the anchor for CBS Evening News,” or a leftist like Diane Sawyer say “I’m the anchor for ABC World News,” and you may wonder, “What is the meaning of this word News?”  News shares a root with the French word “Novelle,” meaning a work of fiction. News in this context is a rich and varied tapestry of imaginative statements meant to create a delightfully alternative world to the one we’re actually living in — a world in which the leftist ideas of these anchors would have positive results on people’s lives.

I hope this glossary will aid you in translating the language of the mainstream news media into other languages — such as the Truth.


Thumbnail and image courtesy shutterstock / Gigra

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