Balentine hijacking language, too

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John Balentine (“By definition, the media is falling” 3/29/17 J. Balentine) suggests that what he calls “mainstream media” has hijacked certain words for its own purposes. In doing so he seems to be doing exactly what he says shouldn’t be done: give negative connotations to words to serve your own purposes.

The terms “The Media” and “Mainstream Media,” as used by Balentine and others, carry a negative meaning that neither Webster’s nor common usage have. The negative meaning was created by (usually) conservative commentators and politicians, such as Trump, to negatively refer to any news outlet that does not support their agenda and serve their purposes. However, so-called “conservative” TV, radio and internet outlets don’t include themselves as “The Media” even though by definition, they are.

Most definitions in Balentine’s column are cited as defined in Webster’s Dictionary, whereas the definition of “liberal” as “someone who believes government intervention is the only answer to social ills” is not. We can assume somebody made it up or maybe it came from common usage on talk radio to impart a negative connotation to being a liberal, instead of one who believes in addressing social inequities.

One glaring word omission whose definition is unambiguous is demagogue: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. Is there a double-meaning for this: if the shoe fits, wear it? There’s no argument with the definition of “nationalism:” loyalty and devotion to a nation: especially a sense of national consciousness.” What does that mean to you?

Jeff Christiansen
Gorham