Monday, June 20, 2005

It's how you say it

Senate funds governor's environmental intitiatives in DEQ budget
The Senate approved a measure Monday restoring two of Gov. Ted Kulongoski's environmental initiatives that the House stripped last week in passing its version of the Department of Environmental Quality budget.

The Senate, run by Democrats, passed its DEQ spending measure 16-13 and sent it to the Republican-controlled House, which has yet to act on it.

The House and Senate environmental budgets differ in two areas: whether to prohibit California's auto emissions standards and whether to fund a plan to clean up the Willamette River.

Kulongoski favors California's stricter auto emissions standards already in place in about a dozen other states. Washington says it will adopt them if Oregon does.

Notice the wording chosen by AP writer Niki Sullivan: "whether to prohibit California's auto emissions standards". She could have said "whether to adopt California's strict emissoin standards" or "whether to follow California in enacting tougher emission standards" but no, this sounds as if Oregon is somehow affecting California's emission rules. (Which we can't, but apparently Washington, the "me too" state, can be affected by our decision)

Noticing word choice is something that people who don't believe in the media bias do not do. But the way we say things can make all the difference. Imagine if the writer had said "whether to add $3000 to the cost of owning a new car," you would have come away with a very different impression of this bill.

Try some others:

"Find a new source of revenue"
"Raise your taxes"

"Land use planning"
"Restrict home building and access"

"Affirmative action"
"Race based promotion"

"A 3% budget cut"
"The budget went up 6% but we wanted 9%"

Obviously you must read between the lines anytime you open up your local fishwrapper, watch word choice, what is omitted, and extraneous details that are really an editorial in the middle of a news article.

Oh, and Senate Bill 5536 should be opposed. Write your House rep.


MAX Redline said...

Yes, a "cut" in spending means only that they didn't get as much of an increase in funding that they wanted. George Orwell would be so proud!

Anonymous said...

Ah, but increasing fuel standards will save money in the long run because you'll use less of that spendy gas.