Sunday, February 11, 2007

Anti-Speak: DNC vs. RNC

I am going to be looking for examples of what I consider to be antagonistic statements (or anti-speak) by politicians and others. By "anti-speak" I mean angry words and name-calling; anything that gets in the way of true dialog and problem-solving; anything that builds up walls, causes defensive reactions, or distracts from honest discussions of the issues. This includes:

1. making broad generalizations about a group or party,
2. labeling or name-calling,
3. putting words in the mouth of the opposition,
4. attributing motives to the opposition,
5. oversimplification of issues to make a point (e.g., continual repetition of sound bites), and
6. overly harsh/angry or fighting words when there are softer words that would be as effective in making the point.

Today I looked for examples from the web sites of the two major parties. This is an analysis just of the home pages.

The Republican Party had these examples:
  • A link entitled "The Dem Dodger" a term used for Sen. Barack Obama for not participating in an election primary forum in Nevada. Do we need this type of name-calling? Is the GOP trying to find a sound-bite name for Sen. Obama?.
  • A link for "Pelosi's Power Trip" in reference to her use of military aircraft. Didn't this turn out to be kind of a non-issue anyway? To say "power trip" is to attribute a motivation to Pelosi and is an oversimplified term that does not look at the whole issue.
  • A poll for favorite GOP video with one choice entitled "Democrats: Dishonest on Iraq." I do not think that calling the Democrats liars will help resolve the issue.
  • A link for demfacts.com, "Get the facts on Democrat hypocrisy." Now they are being called hypocrites. Surely there is a better way to say this that might get at the real issue.
  • A link to an article "Hillary's Kerryaoke on Iraq: Track 2." If there is a point to be made, how about doing it without careful little word plays?
The Democratic Party had this one example:
  • A link to a blog that uses the term "smoke and mirrors war budgeting." Smoke and mirrors implies deception. Surely there are budgeting issues with regard to the war effort but why use this term which will just get the ire of the opposition?

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