“Translating 8 of the Media’s Code Words to Reveal Their Imperial Mindset” | Alternet

If you’re still tuning into the evening news to get your information, then you have most likely been propagandized/indoctrinated/brainwashed:

Translating 8 of the Media’s Code Words to Reveal Their Imperial Mindset

The corporate media uses its own private dictionary to casually launder tragedy and hostility toward outsiders.

By Adam Johnson

“If thought corrupts language,” George Orwell once reasoned, “language can also corrupt thought.” This is how the immoral can seem banal, the cruel sanitized and the trite profound. In his time these nuggets of discourse included, “bestial atrocities,” “iron heel,” “bloodstained tyranny,” and “free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder.”

Today these terms seem corny, foreign or both, but in the late 1940s they passed for insight and conventional wisdom, and one had to more or less parrot them in order to be taken seriously. Orwell lamented the hollowness of these human propaganda conduits, which we generally call “pundits”:

One often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being [say these terms] but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them.

This tedium isn’t just an offense to originality, but to the fabric of democracy itself. Through repetition and folksy appeal, oft-repeated expressions become not only intellectually corrosive, but political weapons. They allow, as he put it, “the words to chose the meaning, not the other way around.”

And so it still goes in 2016. Here are eight toxic euphemisms American empire uses to numb us to its brutality.

1. “Muscular foreign policy.”

Actual meaning: Supports more mechanized violence against far off peoples.

Examples: Hillary Clinton gave a speech in which she announced a willingness to use more imperial violence than Obama and the Serious Foreign Policy crowd was elated.

Political purpose: To employ macho-sounding euphemisms to sanitize the fact that our political leaders are ordering someone to order someone to order someone in an air-conditioned room to remotely bomb someone 5,000 miles away. There is, of course, nothing tough about doing this.

2. “Stronghold.”

Actual meaning: Civil area controlled by government we don’t like.

Example: “Stronghold” is used in many contexts, but the most common is when the New York Times and others employ it to describe any part of south Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah. In addition to being a militia, Hezbollah is also a civilian political party that is popular in Beirut, so when ISIL blew up a civilian shopping center in Beirut, killing 43, many were shocked and disgusted the Times would refer to victims of an ISIL terror attack shopping for fruit as being in a stronghold. After much protest, the headline was changed and the Times issued a non-apology. The reality is, for years the New York Times and many other outlets have used “Hezbollah stronghold” to refer to civilian areas of Lebanon, though it’s typically done in the context of Israel bombing civilians, not ISIL.

Political purpose: To “militarized” civilians U.S. and its allies kill and thus excuse their crimes.

3. “Populist.”

Actual meaning: Democratically oriented politician who scares elites.

Examples: Domestically, we see it used to slander Bernie Sanders, but it’s most frequently used to smear elected governments the U.S. doesn’t like, namely socialist governments like Venezuela’s.

Political purpose: In perfect Orwellian fashion, the goal is to turn the entire notion of democratic government on its head and phrase it as a bad thing. Populism, or appealing to what is popular, thus becomes a pejorative and not desirable. The fact that Hugo Chavez is elected with 63% of the vote is somehow evidence of a system gone wrong rather than one that’s clearly doing its job by serving the people.

4. “Developing economy.”

Actual meaning: Poor country the West plans to exploit in the form of heavy interest on loans, cheap and unprotected labor and raw materials.

Example: China, India, all of Africa and Latin America.

Political purpose: The term is actually more offensive than “third world” because it treats other countries like children—or in this case teens—who are in some type of adolescence, only to reach first-world adulthood in some vague, unknown timeframe. In the interim, they must take out large loans from the IMF and let American and European corporations have access to their natural resources… (emphasis added)

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Source: Translating 8 of the Media’s Code Words to Reveal Their Imperial Mindset | Alternet

One thought on ““Translating 8 of the Media’s Code Words to Reveal Their Imperial Mindset” | Alternet

  1. I think young people are really wise turning their backs on the corporate media. I am following their example. There are lots more productive ways to spend your time when you aren’t pent up and angry all the time.


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