Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's Drop "Reform"

Left, Right, or Center, let's drop the word "reform" when discussing proposed political changes.

"Reform" is a biased term. It means a change for the better. The Right calls for Social Security reform and the Left wants health care reform. Each side knows the luster carried by the very word "reform." After all, can't anything get better? Well, yes, but that doesn't mean any change will be an improvement. Live long enough and you'll learn that life is packed with unintended consequences. "Reform" is a conclusion disguised as a description.

Journalists, who should know better, run with the reform description when they could be employing a more neutral term. I think they were more inclined to use terms such as "overhaul" or "change" when referring to Social Security proposals but that may just be my natural suspicion of press bias.

It is understandable why political operatives want to attach the "R" word to any of their proposals but one would think that the use of objective language is taught the first week in journalism school. Of course, cynics would say that the line between journalists and political operatives has been blurred. I wouldn't go that far.

At least not yet.

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