How language manipulates our political perceptions…

Salon.com, despite being generally worthless, sometimes puts out an entry that’s actually worth reading. This is the case, I think, with Raising taxes isn’t “left-wing radical”! David Sirota analyzes the language used in the media to describe political positions and how it makes popular proposals seem radical.

These are standard filler lines; in fact, they are likely familiar to you because you’ve read or heard some version of them before in the elite media discourse. But that’s what makes the talking points so significant. They prove that even the most standard, lackluster, altogether mundane pabulum reeks of highly subjective, yet all-too-common conservative ideology.

Think critically about the message Davidson is actually transmitting in that paragraph: In the first sentence, he forwards the idea that it is perfectly natural — even logical — to assume that “raising taxes to help society” is an idea that could only be “the ravings of a left-wing radical.” That, or an extreme proposal that would obliterate the entire private sector. Left unsaid is that most Americans — and not just “left wing radicals” — support slightly higher taxes, and that higher taxes under Bill Clinton did the opposite of “destroy(ing) American industry.”

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