Glossary: Key memes, counterfactuals, dog whistles, canards, euphemisms, innuendoes, insinuations, fake outrages, and obsessions in The Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories and fever swamps, April 1-5, 2017


rhetorical claim: crime is the new black entitlement. As long as black people are permanent victims of relentless white racism, cops should not chase them, juries should not convict them, judges should not sentence them, schools should not punish them, and white victims should not complain about the black crime and violence so wildly out of proportion.

This is what a growing number of lawmakers, professors and, of course, reporters are prescribing as a way to “improve the way our system serves justice.”

rhetorical effect: criminalizes being black; justifies all police violence against blacks; re-inforces the gross insinuation that blacks are dependent on the public dole and feel entitled to government support just because they are black.


teachers’ unions

rhetorical claim: the only group ever able to give America’s teachers a bad name.

rhetorical effect: extends the demonization of teachers as greedy hypocrites hungry for power and indifferent to education outcomes. In other words, accuses teachers of caring least about their students, whose welfare is ostensibly the only reason anyone would take on such grinding, unforgiving, low-paid work.


environmental extortion rackets

rhetorical claim: “global warming,” “climate change,” automobile fuel standards, scares over CO2 levels, almost all EPA regulations are all hoaxes and literally extortion rackets to fine corporations and force them to make outlandish financial investments in technology that can’t solve imaginary problems.

rhetorical effect: relativizes environmental regulation by either devaluing its causes or its effects. As is almost always the case, makes progressive environmental activists out to be power-hungry hypocrites.


the Democratic steno pool

rhetorical claim: the dishonest MSM has c0ncocted the entire Russian election hacking story to discredit the Trump administration. They are little more than stenographers of whatever false narrative Hillary Clinton Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Susan Rice give them

rhetorical effect: seems to make it impossible to get at the facts–let alone the truth–of gettin of the extent of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians. Reinforces the idea of a “post-truth” era, in which they challenge any assertion of fact. Yet they have it both ways because they also insist (see “rumor mongering,” below) that “the real story” is the Obama/Susan Rice monitoring of the Trump transition team. So none of te mainstream media news is considered real, and none of their news can ever be fake or self-serving.



rhetorical claim: states’ rights should guarantee flexibility is such broad areas as health care policy and mandates, environmental protection, public safety, birth control, gender discrimination laws, consumer laws, etc.

rhetorical effect: absolves the Trump administration from any of the political blame for inadequate or unaffordable insurance coverage, police violence against minorities, racial, sexual and gender discrimination, inadequate womens’ sexual health protections, air and water pollution, consumer fraud, etc.



rhetorical claim: any of the Russian election-hacking stories. The real story is Susan Rice and the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump transition team.

rhetorical effect: reduces facts to rumors–that is, unsubstantiated claims made for politically partisan purposes. Any criticism of Trump is trivialized as rumor or gossip. If this was a courtroom, it would be impossible for the prosecutors to present any acceptable evidence because they could not conform to the canons of evidence. It’s the Alice in Wonderland scenario:

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass


the war on fossil fuels

rhetorical claim: the “climate change” conspiracy has finally lost its war on fossil fuels now that the Trump administration has opened up oil and gas drilling, provided  regulatory relief, and more or less banned any climate change research.

rhetorical effect: denies the reality of harmful CO2 emissions; dismantles 50 years of environmental regulation; absolves corporations from any liability for harmful effects of their activities. Fossil fuels are now fighting a war on the earth.



rhetorical claim: America’s greatest cohering force. Religious freedom must be upheld.

rhetorical effect: the defense of religions at the expense of basic human rights–as in the cases of abortion, gay rights, gender identity, school curriculum, women’s rights, birth control, etc–not only sanctions prejudice but enshrines it as the cornerstone of national cohesion.

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