PABE


Words Matter
June 14, 2006, 3:31 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

In his latest book, Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism Into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show, Geoffrey Nunberg, the UC Berkeley linguist professor and counsel to the Democratic Senate Caucus on the convergence of language and politics, makes an interesting point.

Of the stories published in 2005, the word combination “conservative values” appeared seven times more often than the term “liberal values” in the Washington Times and four times more often in the Washington Post. Nunberg’s point is to show how subconsciously or not, journalists, despite all attempts to remain objective, sometimes repeat the ideology of the culture wars at large in the stories they write.

From a broader perspective, these statistics also suggest that conservatives have successfully won the culture wars in part by claiming ownership of the idea of “values,” defining liberals as value-less or amoral in the process.

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