Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Newspeak of the Week

A Call for Softer, Greener Language
In interviews, Republican politicians and their aides said they agreed with the strategist, Frank Luntz, that it was important to pay attention to what his memorandum, written before the November elections, called "the environmental communications battle."

In his memorandum, Mr. Luntz urges that the term "climate change" be used instead of "global warming," because "while global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge."

Also, he wrote, "conservationist" conveys a "moderate, reasoned, common sense position" while "environmentalist" has the "connotation of extremism."

I'm not sure how they're going to escape the fact that every major conservation organization in the country -- particularly such traditionally semi-conservative organizations as anglers and outdoorsmen -- has been nearly as sharply critical of the Bush administration's agenda as have environmental groups. Nearly the only such group that hasn't criticized Bush so far has been the traditionally GOP-friendly Nature Conservancy, which has chosen simply to be mute, even though its positions on such issues as global warming are at sharp variance with the Busheviks'.

More to the point, I have a hunch that the plan to demonize "environmentalism" may not exactly fly well with the soccer-mom vote. We'll see, won't we?

In any case, it's clear that we're going to be barraged with some fresh Newspeak:

Climate change is global warming we can handle.

Conservationists are environmentalists we can handle.

I suppose all the photo-ops of Bush out working on his ranch are to suggest he is a "conservationist." When do we get the fly-fishing shots?

And of course, I wonder how long it will be before every Republican in the country tries to claim he's a "conservationist."

As a longtime card-carrying conservationist, I can only say: I object!

[Thanks to Brian Z. for forwarding this.]

No comments: