A tale of two militias: finding the right label for the Oregon protests

When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word ‘militia’ to describe them. The Guardian
Philosophy News image
When an armed group occupied a federal building in Oregon to protest against the US government’s land management, the media quickly seized on the word “militia” to describe them. The Guardian reported the incident with the headline “Oregon militia threatens showdown with US agents at wildlife refuge“; The Washington Post listed the “Key things to know about the militia standoff in Oregon“; and The New York Times described the group as “armed activists and militiamen“. Commenters on social media quickly picked up on this use of language, with one question repeatedly voiced: why were the Oregon group members not being described as terrorists? Echoing the debate about the use of the word mastermind in the wake of the Paris attacks, the argument about the correct term for the Oregon protestors highlights the politically loaded nature of labels. Words carry potent associations and images, and have the power not only to express the speaker’s. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

blog comments powered by Disqus