In a thought-provoking speech to an event organised by broadcaster Al Jazeera, foreign correspondent for The Independent Robert Fisk has warned journalists against thoughtlessly using the “words of power” in war reporting.
…the most dangerous side of our new semantic war, our use of the words of power – though it is not a war since we have largely surrendered – is that it isolates us from our viewers and readers. They are not stupid. They understand words, in many cases – I fear – better than we do. History, too. They know that we are drowning our vocabulary with the language of generals and presidents, from the so-called elites, from the arrogance of the Brookings Institute experts, or those of those of the Rand Corporation or what I call the ‘TINK THANKS’. Thus we have become part of this language.
The “danger words” he warns against include:
· POWER PLAYERS
· NON-STATE ACTORS
· KEY PLAYERS
· GEOSTRATEGIC PLAYERS
· EXTERNAL PLAYERS
· PEACE PROCESS
· MEANINGFUL SOLUTIONS
· CHANGE AGENTS (whatever these sinister creatures are).