Call it the liberal media “one word” game. All it takes is one word – one word ever so subtly and carefully placed in a news story. And with that the liberal media sets the liberal narrative about the topic of the moment.
Take what is known as the Hyde Amendment. For those who came in late, the law was sponsored years ago by the late Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde. Mr. Hyde, a Republican, was a staunch opponent of abortion. So he introduced an amendment that forbids the federal funding of abortion, with exceptions allowed to save the life of a woman and if she was raped or pregnant as a result of incest. The amendment passed the House overwhelmingly in 1976 (312–93) and has been tinkered with on occasion but is essentially very much still on the books.
Thus here we are, a full 45 years later, and with West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin saying that he will not vote for the Democrats’ reconciliation bill unless it includes the Hyde Amendment.
Here’s the liberal media word game at work, this time over in The Hill. The headline: “Manchin says reconciliation bill must include controversial Hyde Amendment”
Note the word game at play: The Hyde Amendment, four and a half decades on the books, passed overwhelmingly, is suddenly labeled “controversial.” All manner of conservative critics called out the game.
Doug Heye, a GOP strategist asked:
Controversial to whom? The majority of the public supports it. That once included Joe Biden.
Over there at National Review, NR’s David Harsanyi chimed in:
The Hyde Amendment is “controversial?” Biden was a supporter of it for 40 years. Changed his mind during the campaign.
John McCormack, also at NR, tweeted: “A January 2021 Marist poll found Americans back the Hyde amendment 58% to 38%.”
Nearly identical to results of Politico/Harvard poll from 2016.
Writer Kimberly Ross, who has been published in The Washington Examiner and USA Today among other places, noted:
Props to Senator Manchin for insisting that the Hyde Amendment be included in reconciliation legislation. Despite loud claims to the contrary, Hyde isn’t extreme at all. It just keeps federal funds from going to pay for abortions. It should always be protected.
All of these people and doubtless more are on to the “one word game.” As mentioned, the objective is always to set the liberal narrative about the topic of the moment, in this case that the Hyde Amendment is “controversial.”
There was another one-word game” example this week, this one in The New York Times. The story was about the issuing of subpoenas by the House January 6th Committee. The targets of the subpoenas were the planners of the Trump rally at the White House, this rally preceding the later one at the Capitol that resulted in a riot.
This time the one-word game was played with a description of the crowd gathered at the White House ellipse to hear then-President Trump. The crowd is described by The Times as the “agitated audience.”
As someone who was at that rally – but not at the Capitol later – and with a front row seat I can say with first hand knowledge the audience was anything but agitated. To the contrary, rock and roll music was blaring from the sound system before Trump’s arrival and the people around me were literally dancing as if they were at a rock concert. I spoke with a lot of people – and not a one could remotely be described as “agitated.”
Yet The Times, ever so careful of the liberal media narrative of the later Capitol riot, carefully included the word “agitated”, as if to set the stage for what would happen later in the day.
Then there’s Politico. The other day Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader, gave a speech in which he said this, with bold print for emphasis supplied:
When I first was an assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children—the whole neighborhood was against it. These are harmless kids! They just needed some help. We got it done.
In today’s world, the “R-word” is considered by many as the equivalent of the “N-word” when applied to the disabled or developmentally challenged – and those who use the “R-word” can count on being called out.
But here was the shrugging headline on Schumer that Politico ran: “Schumer apologizes after using outdated term for disabled children during housing interview.”
It also tweeted this: “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer used an outmoded word to refer to developmentally disabled children during a recent podcast appearance.”
The one-word game being used to protect Schumer was quickly recognized by The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro, who tweeted: “Interesting how it’s just ‘outmoded’ when a Democrat says it”
Grabien founder Tom Elliott humorously tweeted his observation Jeopardy-style: “I’ll take ‘This wouldn’t be the headline if it were Trump for $500, Alex.’”
Which is to say had Trump or any prominent Republican said exactly what Schumer said, it would be a left-wing media cause célèbre, a firestorm of rage But it wasn’t Trump or any Republican who said it, it was Schumer the Democrat Senate Leader. So Politico shrugs with the one-word game used to protect Schumer. He just used an “outmoded” or “outdated” word. Nothing to see here folks, run along.
As noted, this is an ever so subtle game at play. But more and more conservatives have learned how the game is played.
The objective is as simple as it is crystal clear: Set the liberal narrative on the topic of the moment by using a single descriptive word – usually a word with negative connotations.
And if necessary? Downplay with one word to protect the errant Democrat of the moment.
Can you say “understood”?