Words really do matter
6th May 2013 · 0 Comments
By A. Peter Bailey
It is fascinating to witness how conservative and reactionary intellectuals, columnists, radio and television propagandists and public officials have so thoroughly set the parameters for political discourse in this country.
Three current examples are the frequently used political descriptions – Obamacare, entitlements and gun control. For instance, rather than reading and hearing about the pluses and minuses of Obamacare, the public would be reading and hearing about and discussing the negatives and positives of the Affordable Care Act, the official name of the healthcare bill. It is much easier for loud-mouthed opponents of government involvement in the health arena to demagogue Obamacare than it would be for them to demagogue the Affordable Care Act. Which is exactly why they quickly labeled it Obamacare. Their doing so is not surprising. That’s what propagandists do for a living. What is surprising to most people is how quickly the national press went along with their agenda.
It’s the same with entitlements. Social Security and Medicare were launched as government-sponsored safety nets for working people in this country. Money for the programs is taken from a person’s paycheck throughout his or her working years. One would never know this very pertinent fact from listening to those conservative and reactionary propagandists who set the tone for discussion and debate about these subjects by scornfully and misleadingly branding them as entitlements.
There should be serious discussion as to whether the two government programs need to be modified, reformed, or even eliminated, but the focus should be on them as safety nets, not as entitlements which gives the impression that people are demanding and getting something for nothing. That is just the impression opponents of the programs want to give and once again most of the press consistently assist them in realizing their goal.
Then there’s the hot topic of gun control, another misleading term launched by gun worshippers and their willing allies in the press and political offices. Very few people in the country support gun control but many support gun safety. Instead of framing the debate and discussions on this issue as being about gun safety most of the press, to the overwhelming joy of gun worshippers, gun manufacturers and gun dealers, are put on the defensive about supporting gun control. If they were serious, they would compel the National Rifle Association and its supporters to be put on the defensive opposing gun safety.
Think about it. If the national press was doing its job, political dialogue would not be about Obamacare, entitlements and gun control but about the pluses and minuses of the Affordable Care Act, government safety nets and gun safety. Words really do matter.
This article originally published in the May 6, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.