The Corner

Vast Right-Wing Powers

The Right has a physical power over human physiology. Seriously. Or so says George Lakoff, a linguistics professor:

A producer from a National Public Radio show “On the Media” called me up recently to tell me that [a style manual] … many journalists around the country call on when writing their stories is dictating that journalists stop using the word fetus and replace it with the term unborn child. This producer asked me if I thought this was political, and when I said, “Of course it’s political,” she debated me. We’ve heard this phrase unborn child so much that it’s physically changing our brains. Also, the word fetus has been demonized, even though it is a technical, scientific term. The right is so successfully framing this issue that a term representing a political agenda is becoming the “neutral” or “objective” word that journalists are supposed to use in their stories.

The right has been on this for the last 40 years; they understand and pay attention to the way the mind works. They play the journalists right now. Many times, journalists don’t even know that they are promoting the right’s language. They see it as neutral and repeat it over and over — “tax relief, ” “partial-birth abortion.” The right has come up with a whole list of values and language about those values, so that their spokespeople can use it over and over again and get the media to use their language over and over again, and to ask their questions. Until we hear it all so much, have it reinforced in so many ways, that it physically changes our brains. There is nothing neutral or objective about that. People talk about a “competitive marketplace of ideas.” The notion that there are all these equally weighted, neutral ideas floating about out there, from which people will choose their views and opinions. It doesn’t exist. The right figured out how to physically change our brains, and the left is only beginning to recognize this very basic fact of cognitive science.

Via AfterAbortion

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