Cliché Watch: Steve Jobs as a 'Visionary'

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The cliché: Writing on the Two-Way blog for NPR, Mark Memmott mused on the reactions that poured forth after Steve Jobs's passing. "Look at front pages, listen to news broadcasts or search the Web today and the one word that comes up over and over again in reports about the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is: visionary." Indeed, in the hours after the death was announced, there seemed to be no debate over descriptors. "Apple has lost a visionary and a creative genius," his successor Tim Cook said in a letter to employees. "The world has lost a visionary," noted President Obama. "Apple's visionary redefined digital age," declared The New York Times headline. The Atlantic Wire's original headline on the news of his death was "Steve Jobs, Apple's Visionary, Dies at 56." Memmott noted, "You rarely see such consensus about someone's legacy." The reasons for that consensus on Jobs's legacy are clear, but the linguistic consensus used to describe that legacy merits a closer look. 

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