Sunday, March 18, 2012

NPR: Neo-Patriotic Rhetoric [Allegedly]

The one word that for the past week has been most overused, overstressed, and blindly repeated: alleged. In reference this past week to the US soldier who murdered children and women. Taken down from the shelf and dusted off every time a "hero" gets caught committing atrocities and war crimes. American newscasters and journalists seem to do a lot of dusting these days.

Case in point: Diane Rehm this past Friday uttered this ridiculously immoderate modifier six time in the course of an hour:
[1] Defense secretary Panetta made a high-profile trip to Afghanistan after a U.S. soldier's alleged shooting rampage.
[2] Defense secretary Panetta made a high-profile trip to Afghanistan after a U.S. soldier's alleged shooting rampage.
[3] You have this sergeant who allegedly killed these people being sent we thought to Kuwait, and Kuwait said we don't want him, so he's on his way home.
[4] James Kitfield, what do we know about the American soldier who allegedly killed 16 Afghan villagers?
[5] Just before the break, we were talking about the American who is the alleged killer of 16 Afghans who is apparently on his way to the United States, with Nancy Yousseff of McClatchy Newspapers who herself is going to move to Egypt for a year.
[6] Well, we must all remember that until proven guilty someone is, in the minds of the law -- in the eyes of the law, still very much alleged
But it was the one other instance Rehm uttered that word that exposes the sad states of language and public discourse. Between the fifth and sixth utterances, Rehm reads an email from a listener and thus utters that utterly ridiculous word a seventh time within that one ridiculous hour.:
Why are we calling the incident an alleged shooting? It was cold blooded murder. Americans should own up to what happened and show the world they're capable of doing the right thing by prosecuting the soldier for murder.
Rehm's ridiculous non-response:
Well, we must all remember that until proven guilty someone is, in the minds of the law -- in the eyes of the law, still very much alleged.
Well, Ms. Rehm, we must all remember that the question behind the question is why do you and all other "news" personalities feel obligated to obsess over this one ridiculous word only when a US "hero" shows himself as a true war criminal? Well, Ms. Rehm, we must all remember that condescension is no noble trait; it's no superpower. Well, Ms. Rehm, we must all remember all the other times in your one ridiculous hour that you forwent uttering the very possible yet impossibly improbable alleged when the [alleged] guilty person was not an American, not a "hero," not anyone in particular. Allegedly.

No comments:

Post a Comment