Thursday, July 07, 2005

"War" vs. "war"

“War on Terror” vs. “war on terror.” How much difference does capitalization make? Subtle? Yes. Mean anything? Maybe. In one of Fox’s articles on the London bombing President Bush is quoted using the capitalized phrase. CNN later published a transcript and used lower case (consistent with White House usage apparently). A search on CNN showed no use of the capitalized phrase in 2005 except for twice when used in the title of a book. Fox’s search capability does not include searching for just upper case letters so it is difficult to tell how often they use the capitalized version. But, at least in this case it did. I think stating the “war on terror” as a proper noun gives it more credibility as a definite and specific war. When the phrase is used as a common noun it connotes more of a general, indefinite effort. Is Fox then, in this case, making a stronger statement in support of the war effort or a stronger connection between the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism?

Links to the articles:,2933,161766,00.html

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