Saturday, May 23, 2009

The man who changed "eavesdropping" into “electronic intercepts”

If you've ever doubted to power of words, read this Q&A in the Times magazine. Luntz describes himself as communications specialist.

Q. You have devised many phrases to help sell Republican policies to the
public. Like “energy exploration” instead of “drilling for oil” in the Arctic.
What are some of your other coinages?

A. It’s “death tax” instead of “estate tax” or “inheritance tax.” It’s “opportunity scholarships” instead of “vouchers.” It’s “electronic intercepts” rather than “eavesdropping.”

Q. That’s a lot of e’s.

A. Words that begin with b, p or t are words to express anger. I call them
spitting words. You actually spit on people as you are saying them.

Q. What if I call someone a bunny?

A. That’s not angry. If I wanted to demonize a bunny, I would use a word
like rabbit. The rabbit will ravage your garden. This is a language pivot. A
bunny is cute; a rabbit that ravages your garden is a pest.

No comments: