The Power of Language – When the “Liberated” Protest the “Liberators”

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PRI’s “The World” reports on a crackdown on a factory in Spain. The lead-in states that Chinese laborers in a “sweat shop” were freed/liberated by police. Then notes the surprising turn of events when the laborers protest the crackdown – they want their jobs back. The story continues to pose a question that Spaniards and the police are presumably asking: “Why would anyone want to return to an illegal and exploitive sweatshop?” The working conditions were described as slave-like by a bureaucrat.

By framing a situation with words such as free, liberate, slave, exploit, and sweat shop, even though the words are not very accurate, the stage is already set. I’ve never taken a journalism or public policy class, but this has got to be 101 stuff. The media, politicians, and bureaucrats know what they are doing when they use words in this way.

8:50 pm on July 1, 2009