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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dr. J and Mr. K Blog - one to add to your list 
(en francais)

I've blogged about these gentlemen in the past and thought it worthwhile repeating after reading their last several articles. There are no perma links on the blog, so here's a taste of their writing. Make sure you scroll down and read the post "Too hot for the Calgary Herald" posted on the 4th of March. This article was commissioned by the Herald's publisher regarding the Danish cartoons, but the Herald's editorial page declined to publish it.

Duck Journo Duck

Daffy Duck had more power of self-analysis than many of our opinion writers. In one of the three classic cartoons where Daffy repeatedly gets his beak blown off by Elmer Fudd’s shotgun, he has a fleeting spark of insight. He realizes that, through Bugs Bunny’s verbal gymnastics, he has actually asked Elmer to blast his beak off. “Pronoun trouble!” exclaims Daffy. The persistent duck tries to adjust his verbiage to forestall another salvo of buckshot but, predictably, fails. At least he tried.

Many journalists and opinion leaders have much more pronounced “adjective trouble”. This is the propensity of journalists, especially in nominally neutral news reports, to inject ideological bias through the use of choice adjectives. Here are a few examples.

One that’s routinely used to undermine the veracity or sincerity of people or policies is “so-called”. A common variant nowadays is “Bush’s so-called War on Terror”. The adjective not only discredits the U.S. government’s chosen terminology but questions the whole premise of terrorism. Which begs the question, if it’s not a war, then what? And if it’s not terrorism, are the victims merely imagining being blown up or beheaded?

Within days of the new Conservative government’s election, our own CBC began referring to the “so-called Accountability Act”. Well, that is the formal, proper title of the proposed legislation. The sneaky qualifier is literally on the same level as referring to the “so-called CBC anchored by the so-called Peter Mansbridge.” Our objective socialized broadcaster aims a blow below the government’s rhetorical belt, implying that the legislation is not about accountability at all. What’s next, Harper’s “so-called visit to Afghanistan”?

A ubiquitous Canadian example is “American-style”. This catch-all denunciation can be appended to virtually any noun, instantly discrediting the object of discussion, whether it’s health care, judicial behaviour or big-box retailing. It’s a cheap and easy way to tap into misdirected Canadian nationalism. Heaven forbid that an idea should stand on its own merit. No, it must stand or fall because it was thought up by a dead white male philosopher or first implemented by a jurisdiction south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Complete article...

Paul Synnott at 6:54 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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