A primer in modern journalism

I have read the news article beneath the fold here several times, and my head is abuzz. I have never seen such a compact and orderly collection of euphemisms, politically correct grammar, and barely disguised attacks on public policy in one article. Phil Taylor, author of the piece, is to be commended. He’s surely an A student.

It is hard to know, however. His bio is sketchy, as are those of Michael Witt and Kevin Braun, founders of E&E Publishing, Taylor’s employer. (E&E = Environment & Energy.)

In Taylor’s article below the fold here, “White House in talks to reform budgeting, streamline NEPA, I have emboldened and underlined his disguised language. I suppose I’ll have to take it down soon, as it is available only on subscription. E&E is a very expensive group to subscribe to – between $2,000 and $150,000, according to this article. That is a tell – it means that E&E has an exclusive and private clientele who are willing to pay a lot of money for there service. (Read: Industry insiders, congressional aides, and lobbyists.) It’s an industry publication masquerading as a public interest group.

Below is a list of words used in the article, along with a translation. I speak fluent euphemism:

  • Reform: To grease the skids for private wealth to exploit public lands.
  • Streamlined logging: Access to public lands without restraint of laws or regulations. Clearcutting.
  • Overgrown forest: Public land that industry has not yet been able to access due to laws or regulations.
  • Bipartisan: The myth that the two parties are at odds with one another so that agreement protects divergent interests.
  • Expedite: Used to convey a false sense of urgency and thereby bypass laws and regulations.
  • “Wildfires” coupled with “Intensity“: Used to convey the impression that natural forest fires are “conflagrations” caused by lack of sound forest policy, that is, too many laws and regulations.
  • Jobs: Code word for “profits.”
  • Red tape: Code for laws and regulations.
  • Legal threats: The right of the public to petition government for redress of grievances.
  • Expedited forest treatments: Clearcutting.
  • Protect and improve federal landscapes: Clearcutting.
  • Restoration projects:Clearcutting.
  • Make forests more resistant to catastrophic blazes: Clearcut.
  • Categorical exclusions: Bypassing of laws and regulations.
  • Collaborative process: Exclusion of the public from participation in process, working only with industry front groups.
  • Federal Forest Resource Council: Industry front group.
  • Bill Imbergano: Executive Director of Federal Forest Reserve Council, and registered lobbyist for American Forest and Paper Association.
  • Active management, mitigate wildfire risks, improve wildlife habitat: Clearcut.
  • “Economic base for our rural communities” (Montana Governor Steve Bullock): Profits. (He meant “jobs,” see above.)

The Taylor article is a primer on how to write on behalf of industry by clever use of coded language understood by insiders. I’ve never seen so much dishonesty and euphemism in one piece of journalism.

To minimize the risk of losing my blog due to use of copyrighted material, I suggest you read the article here.

One thought on “A primer in modern journalism

  1. The words most people unerstand on this topic what are almost never seen in print or heard on air:
    Clearcut, bulldozer, extinction, habitat, water (quality), deforestation, desertification, subsidy, government sponsored enterprise, “pork,” corruption, conspiracy, public land and public interest.

    Thanks for running this story. It’s the same story — criminal gangs with capital seeking profit — here as in Ukraine, Kenya, or Brazil.


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