Friday, January 28, 2005

Propaganda and 'Private' Accounts

Talking Points Memo and other sites have been discussing the PR campaign being run by the Bush regime to change the terminology from "private accounts" to "personal accounts." This comes along with the attempt to discard the term "privatization" for the whole enterprise.

And now they are claiming that anyone in the media who uses the terms "private accounts" or "privatization" is inherently biased for not switching to the Bush regime's new preferred terminology. But why should the media, or anyone else for that matter, switch from the terminology the regime used to originally set out its plan to the new terminology?

The change, after all, is intended to make the idea of privatization more palatable to the populace by obfuscating what privatization is. Why should the media choose to be complicit in that attempt? Only if the regime can demonstrate that the new terminology is more apt should the media make the switch. Otherwise, I see no difference between this and the German media obeying orders from Hitler to call the eastern extermination camps "resettlement camps" instead. In both cases, the intent of the change of terminology is to convince the people that the thing being referenced is something other than what it actually is. If the media blindly accept the change, they become pawns of the government.

Which is not to say that the media should not adopt the new terminology if it more accurately describes the government's policy. But only then should it switch. Some changes of terminology actually clarify rather than obfuscate and then they can be useful. For instance, I believe that it is important to refer to the current group in power as the "Bush regime" rather than the "Bush administration," because I believe that calling this group an "administration" obfuscates its anti-democratic policies.

Remember: until Bush shows us something to make us think differently, what he intends to do to Social Security is still "privatization." And that is the terminology we should use, no matter what the regime would have us use.


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