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Another Word Deprived of Meaning

October 18, 2008

Often in politics words are used in the opposite sense of their original meaning. Think about the “fairness doctrine” that democrats want to establish in order to kill conservative talk radio. Or the “Employee Free Choice Act” that denies workers a secret ballot about union organisation. Then there is “pro-choice” which almost exclusively means “anti-pro-life”, which is funny because “pro-life” is said to be one of the two options implied by the “choice” in “pro-choice”.

Now it gets increasingly obvious that even the word “fact checking” has lost its original meaning. At least this is my impression from reading about “fact-checkers” who come to the conclusion that these men are not actually plumbers, that McCain has spread this blatant lie about Joe the Plumber and that the CNN fact checkers are letting us down, too. All the while it is left to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page to tell us about M. Obama’s misstatement about Uribe’s Columbia that he used to justify his opposition to the US-Columbia free-trade agreement.

All things considered it looks to me that the new meaning of “fact check” is “spin”.

But all is not lost. There are words that have gained meaning, too. Take, for instance, “Orwellian”.

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