Thursday, January 20, 2011

Speech Police Target Common Talk

On Tuesday CNN's John King apologized to viewers because a guest on his program had just used the word "crosshairs" which apparently is now verboten.

A clip of the apology appears below.

While it is a good idea to try to lower heated political rhetoric, in our view it is foolish to try to ban words which are in common usage in political speech.  It will be very hard to get people to stop using such phrases.  John King's own network proved the point a day later when they filed this report  about the state visit of the Chinese leader saying:
"Senate Democrats this week renewed their push to crack down on countries that manipulate their currencies, with China clearly in their crosshairs."
There are scores of examples on CNN's own website.  For example this one from January 5th:

Queens of comedy - What do Brett Favre, Kim Kardashian and Betty White have in common? They're all in the crosshairs of the comedic legends featured on AC360 last night.
Our advice to political correctness speech police -- lighten up.  TARGET real hate speech -- but quit aiming at metaphorically useful language.

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