Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weasel-word watch: when not saying it, says more

This week, not communicating has done more in official circles than saying anything at all. Unfortunately, the results are not good for most people.

Yesterday, the Air Canada flight attendants’ union caved in to the threat of back to work legislation and accepted what will doubtlessly prove to be disappointing for the workers. But no matter what side of that debate you took (or maybe, somewhere in the middle, like me—I have never Air Canada flight staff very helpful or friendly, compared to those on other airlines), the fact is that the threat of back-to-work legislation was as effective as the legislation itself. Maybe it was even more effective, because it achieved the government’s goal without the time, stress and expense of debate in the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, today at the UN, diplomats are scurrying to convince enough members of the Security Council to abstain from voting on Palestine’s request for full membership, so that the US does not have to veto it. It’s curious—we all know that the US opposes Palestinian statehood now, but somehow, it’s better that it does not veto this change in UN status. But the message is still clear.

We as readers, writers, communicators and citizens need to think about this. Why do we accept this kind of weasel word use? Why do we let politicians bully us into accepting what we do not want, without even explaining what they’re doing? If we would argue when someone says something we disagree with, but accept it when they say nothing, but achieve the same results or perform the same action?

1 comment:

  1. Politicians never say anything. They are,masters at speaking volumes of nothing. It's a job requirement. More effective at numbing people into submission, than arguing with them.