Media Language and a Virtue-Signaling Lie

Whatever one feels about the underlying issue, this item from a Fall River Herald Political Notebook article could provide a good exercise in understanding and critiquing the use of language to manipulate people:

Congressman Joe Kennedy III along with Congressman A. Donald McEachin, of Virgina; Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, of Washington; and more than 140 of their colleagues Tuesday sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to reverse “his intolerant, unconstitutional transgender military ban.” As Chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force, Kennedy has been an outspoken opponent of the President’s attacks on transgender service members.

“By reflecting our nation’s diversity and decency, our military exports our values and establishes our standing as a beacon of hope around the world,” Kennedy said in a statement. “When our troops step forward and volunteer to defend our safety and security at home and abroad, they do not restrict their service by color, creed or gender identity. With this bigoted ban, President Trump questioned the loyalty, courage and compassion of not only transgender service members, but all of those who serve by their side.”

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First, note the “more than 140 of their colleagues” language, which makes it seem like a large number.  An acknowledgment that this is about 33% of all people in the House of Representatives shows that a large majority of the House did not sign on to this letter.  (If the undefined word “colleagues” includes the Senate, the percentage is less.)

Second, it isn’t accurate to say that these congresspeople’s letter “urges” the president.  That’s a euphemism that distorts what they’re doing in order to make it seem more admirable.  Calling somebody “intolerant” isn’t an effort to request or persuade; it’s an attack or command.  When targeted at a prickly personality like Donald Trump, such an attack or command can reasonably be expected to have the opposite effect to the stated intention, which means that these congresspeople are actually actively working against the outcome that they say they want.

Third, the president’s intended ban doesn’t “question” anybody’s “loyalty, courage and compassion,” and it’s simply dishonest to say that it does.  The president’s policy acknowledges the realities of the military and questions whether transgenderism is a fit.  That’s not a value judgment.  If they sincerely believe that the ban does question “loyalty, courage and compassion,” the politicians and journalists must believe that the military is the only way to express those qualities, and Democrats and journalists aren’t known to be people who hold such a limited view (to put it gently).

Fourth, another such contrast with experience is the most interesting lesson.  Since when do liberals, progressives, Democrats, mainstream journalists, or other leftists support the use of the military to “export American values”?  Isn’t America a fundamentally racist country with no business telling other cultures what they’re doing wrong?  Isn’t that colonialism, and isn’t colonialism, like, the worst thing a country can do?

The most likely interpretation is that the statement and coverage thereof is just a virtue-signaling lie.

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