Choose words wisely

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Critics are slamming public figures for using violent language in the media. As for journalists, they’re beginning to delay their speech before spouting off words that may power this debate of rhetoric.

Battle-ready language is certainly more functional in combat zones but should not be restricted from newsrooms or the vocabulary of politicians granted that they use this type of word choice with caution.

Critics, like former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, are attacking journalists for their violent word usage. As a result, journalists have taken these criticisms into consideration. Some stations, such as CNN, are shifting their language from battle-ready terms.

In the past, Palin has received public ridicule for using various phrases that seem more appropriate on a battlefield rather than from a podium.

The public has responded negatively to her expressions like, “Don’t’ retreat. Reload” and having districts in “the crosshairs” of a gun.

Palin’s word choice has made her in many ways infamous. Chances are Palin does not literally mean the phrases in their conventional contexts. Most likely, she is letting words slip out of her mouth without giving much thought as to what she is actually trying to say to her audience.

Nonetheless, contemplating speech before it reaches the public could save face for many people.

Most recently, Palin’s ill-famed “cross hairs” quote from her political action committee resurfaced in the media.

Ironically, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords exposed how her warning against Palin’s “crosshairs” statement is accurate.

“We need to realize that the rhetoric, and the firing people up and … for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we’re in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize that there are consequences to that action…” Giffords said.

Consequences indeed. After the Tucson shooting, Palin accused “journalists and pundits” of committing “blood libel.” This is a term that refers to a fabricated accusation or claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood in various parts of religious rituals and holidays.

Surely she did not mean to use “blood libel” in this context, either.

Palin is not the only politician at fault, however. Democrats are also guilty of using violent language and symbols. They used bullseyes to target Republicans on district maps.

Aggressive language is not solely responsible for vicious behaviors. But violent people are capable of creating violence despite battle-ready rhetoric.

Critics recognize the lack of intelligence that public figures display when they utter aggressive expressions without first examining what they are conveying to the American people.

The best way to avoid looking like a donkey and being a target for the media’s ridicule is to know exactly what you are saying. If that’s not what you mean, then rephrase it.

Author: Chelesea Carter

Chelesea Carter is a senior English major minoring in writing at UMHB. She is an assistant page editor for The Bells newspaper. Though she came from the small town of Caldwell, Texas, she spent most of her teenage years in Aggieland. Chelesea enjoys baking delicious goodies, reading novels and discovering new things about others. Writing about social issues allows Chelesea to share her compassion for helping others. Her life-long goal is to improve the desolate state of the world.

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