Tuesday January 23, 2018
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Assorted General
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Sets of 20

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Political Language

This page contains examples of the way language is used to obscure, slant, provoke, condemn and praise.

  • Restatement of earnings
    The expression used by executives of a number of American corporations in 2002. The law calls it "fraud".

  • Positioning For Growth
    The expression used by the National Australia Bank in April 2002 when announcing the closure of more branches and the retrenchment of several thousand employees.

  • Asylum-Seekers Acronyms
    • SIEV: Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel
    • PUAs: Potential Unauthorised Arrivals

  • Card-carrying environmentalist
    From the Sydney Sun-Herald, (December 2, 2001)

    "Ms Nettle, who pipped Senator Vicki Bourne of the Australian Democrats for the sixth NSW Senate seat, has worked as a community welfare officer in western Sydney, taught English in East Timor, fought uranium mining in Jabiluka, campaigned against the construction of a women's jail at Windsor and joined Critical Mass in blocking traffic in central Sydney in defence of cyclists' rights.

    "She is a member of the Greens and it is the first time NSW voters have sent a committed, card-carrying environmentalist to Federal Parliament.

    "But just because she will be joining the party's other senator, Bob Brown from Tasmania, doesn't mean she will give up her career as a full-time activist."

    Spin: whereas commitment is usually praised as a positive characteristic, in this instance Ms. Nettle's commitment is portrayed as zealous, excessive behaviour. She isn't simply a Green, but a "card-carrying environmentalist" who has made a "career" as a "full-time-activist".

  • Battlefield Detainee - the term used to describe John Walker, the American captured while fighting for the Taliban in November 2001. The term is used because they don't know whether to call him a 'prisoner of war', a 'traitor' or a 'criminal'.

  • Enemy Prisoner of War - EPW was used during the Gulf War in 1991 in place of 'Prisoner of War'. Notice the redundant use of the word 'enemy'.

  • Collateral Damage - another term coined during the Gulf War to describe the loss of civilian lives in military attacks.

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