Monday, November 14, 2016

Language Isn't Neutral, Neither is Choice of Stories

Going to have go get back to media criticism 101, I guess. Reporters will defend anything they write by saying it's their job to be "neutral" and for editorial boards, pundits, and activists to make their arguments based on that reporting. I never know if they're that stupid about what they do or if it's just a lie they all (most) embrace, but choosing to refer to Steve Bannon as a "strong conservative" versus "alt-right" versus "anti-Semite" versus "white nationalist" versus "white supremacist" is a choice. None of these terms are "neutral." They all have specific meanings, and some are better descriptions for readers than others.

I long thought anti-Semitism was a step too far in bigotry in the US, that it was something the US media would "monster" in a way that they're capable of even if they don't admit it. I guess even that is only unequivocally bad if "both sides" agree it is. If one side goes full racist and full anti-Semite, then, well, it's just just a one side/other side controversy. Let the readers decide but let's make it as hard as possible for them to do so by not adequately describing the situation!