2003 July 13 Sunday
Jack Shafer Says "Reform" Is A Much Abused Word

Jack Shafer points out in a Slate essay that the term "reform" is used by advocates of changes in public policy and spending to give their causes a positive spin to the public. He argues that journalists should follow USA Today's example and try to avoid the use of the word "reform" to describe one faction's policy proposals.

Let's eliminate this moldy buzzword from the vocabulary. Then we can move on to banishing its sisters in obfuscation: "diverse," "choice," "empower," "values," "inclusive," and "frankly."

It would make a lot more sense to describe a proposal by saying exactly what it will do. For instance, if you hear the phrase "Medicare Reform" what does it mean to you? Efforts to eliminate corruption? Efforts to reduce eligibility? Efforts to expand eligibility? Or something else altogether? Since the term "reform" has positive connotations any faction that can gain broad press acceptance of their use of the term to describe their proposals wins a valuable edge. The press should refrain from using the term.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 July 13 01:01 AM  Media Critique


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