Modern Political Parallels?Give some examples from today's leaders who have used language to distort reality.

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jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Everyone is jumping on the Bush whacking (ha!) but sadly, he is hardly the first nor the last to use language to distort reality for political power.  Bill Clinton famously parsed the little word "is" into mincemeat.  Name Nixon rings any bells for anyone?  How about LBJ's fun little incident called the "Gulf of Tonkin"? 

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/tonkin-g.htm

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

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George Bush is the obvious answer, for example "War on Terror". Since terrorism is a tactic and not an enemy, a war on terror is simply words with no real meaning. There have been numerous such examples in the Bush administration. 

On the other end of the political spectrum, Iran's leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently hosted a conference which hosted many leading holocaust deniers, yet the conference was called the Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust which is using language to disguise the real aims of the conference, which was to provide a forum for holocaust denial.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Building upon the the Bush theme, since that is the most recent, and the arguments to go to war in Iraq:  it was a calculated decision at the time to refer to "weapons of mass destruction."  The weapons that the UN were concerned about were chemical and nuclear weapons.  However, instead of saying this, the administration coined the new phrase, which is insidiously more threatening than the individual and specific terms.  Thus, they made the conflict seem more serious than it was.

In addition, the Bush educational program is entitled "No Child Left Behind".  This euphemism is a wonderful way to encompass a series of requirements and standards.  The standards are testing the schools, as opposed to addressing each child specifically, and so the title distorts the reality of the program.

sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

This is a very political question.  Many would argue that the Bush administration distorted reality in presenting the arguments for going to war. The people in the administration led many to believe that the leader of Iraq was connected to the events of 9/11, when this was not the case.  The people in the administration also led many to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which was also not the case.  Some would argue that while the administration indicated the reason for “war” was to bring “peace” to the Middle East—words used by the Bush administration—this in fact provides a good example of the type of language used in 1984 in that it twists reality:  war results in war—and peace does not seem to be an immediate possibility.

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