"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things?”
Constant repetition by climate campaigners of words signifying conceptual disasters of great magnitude debased these words and diluted their meaning and their impact to the point at which when taken up by Fleet Street they failed to deliver the required message in the event of a true calamity, the Coronavirus one.
Peter Isaac the president of the National Press Club conjectures that initial warnings about the damaging effects of Coronavirus were blunted and lost impact just because so many of the words used were associated with moral cause propaganda rather than with an actual disaster such as the present rampant viral contagion.
Isaac rated as the “three horsemen” of the climate movement word bending apocalypse as being these words: crisis, emergency, and extinction.
The outrider of this trio was the word dying.
This word routinely applied by the climate change movement and then taken up by the media remains an encoded way of describing the failure of western society to do anything about the alleged changing climate with the result that people were perishing, “dying.”.
The confected alarmism structured around these re-purposed words had its Commonwealth genesis in what Isaac described as only several members of what was once known as the Fleet Street “quality” newspaper category.
The word-bending constructions now assumed what Isaac described as a “royal charter” of approval though usage in one of the qualities, a kind of Stamp of Good Housekeeping.
They were now taken up by public broadcasting, embellished with a gravitas of delivery, and then after gathering additional credence with every mile they travelled from London were reiterated in Australasia.
The result on the audience side of the camera and microphone was confusion
This centred on the crisis/emergency/extinction that under the agenda of a moral movement and one with ready access to the media could theoretically happen with the crisis/emergency/extinction that was actually happening at that moment and was heading toward the population at large.
Isaac originally drew attention to this problem in www.nationapressclub.org.nz and did so with particular reference to what he saw as the proneness of several Australasian newspaper chains to re-iterate the London-sown propagandised vocabulary and terminology.
The latest report from Britain’s Social Mobility Commission demonstrated that in spite of industry sector vaunted and much proclaimed “diversity” that in fact journalists are increasingly drawn from a privileged and university educated background that added up to a sameness of outlook.
The university common room bias was more insidious in public broadcasting because of a much stated impartiality and also because audiences were less aware of the socio-economic human forces behind the constant weaving-in of the theoretical climate “crisis, emergency etc.”
Curiously, noted Isaac before the climate syndrome mutated into one of “change,” it had been labelled as one of global “warming.”
In the event the Coronavirus threat was said to be reduced in a warm climate, while flourishing in the cold weather. A reversal of a popular notion that germs multiply in the heat and get killed off in the cold.
Isaac said that journalists now describe their vocation as a professional one and as such should be expected by the public to use words correctly.
The calling, he said, having robed itself in the mantle of professionalism must be seen to treat moral movements for what they were and do so by putting their propaganda and slogans into context rather than re-iterating and transcribing them as matters of fact.
Journalism whether trade, craft, vocation, or profession was now made up of graduates who had a duty to clearly define for their audiences the difference between a theoretical environmental global alarm and an actual, real-time one, the real thing.
Journalism had not attained its homogenous graduate-grade professionalism without “growing pains.”
The main one was that the elevated journalistic practitioners, seasoned as they were in academic theory, sought as a counterweight to position themselves as contemporary tribunes of the plebeians, as representatives of everyday folk.
They did so by shouldering and arming themselves with what they saw as a noble cause notably the climatist one, and blending their own lofty inculcated values with what they saw as the welfare of the common people.
It was now in this tangled skein of confused values that flourished the agenda masquerading as reporting and requiring the bending of words to accommodate this duality.
Isaac is the author The New Gobbledygook, and The Bureaucrat’s Survival Guide to Workplace Jargon.