Called the “best political communicator in the country,” President Obama is certainly aware of the importance of words.
If a “bailout” for the banking industry sounds like a giveaway, call it a “rescue” and it might attract more support. If a “pullout” from Iraq sounds like a retreat, just call it a “drawdown.”
And if the financial crisis leads to a temporary takeover of some big banks, “nationalization” would be a scary way to describe it — so try “receivership.”
Indeed, this fight for who gets to frame issues, or whose words will become the standard terms by citizens and the media to refer to major events and policies, is perhaps the biggest ongoing battle in politics.
Obama’s clever use of words — frequently likened to the language of the government in 1984 — is painfully obvious in the “Employee Free Choice Act,” which actually promotes anything but free choice. Amusingly, even as MSNBC attempts to cast the bill in favorable light by headlining its story with “Workers Rally for Free Choice Act,” only “dozens” of workers (read that as: less than 100, a pathetically small rally) actually showed up, despite the fact that the president of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, the largest labor union in the country, was apparently present.
Read more about Obama’s language skills and the importance of words in politics here.Published in