One of the problems that arises when our major media outlets (and political leaders) partake in this Orwellian exercise in lexical obfuscation is that there is an erosion of meaning across the board. The new linguistic conventions adopted to provide political cover for American policymakers that implemented a regime of torture become a form of political cover for all manner of torturers - foreign and domestic.
Consider, for example, the way the New York Times describes the despicable acts of torture inflicted on Iranian protesters by the Iranian regime in recent weeks: "prison abuse." Not even the new-found "brutal" qualifier. "Prison abuse" is the term used in the title of the article, and six times in the body - almost the only descriptor employed. The only exception is when the Times did go as far as to say that one detainee's family "said he was being subjected to torture."
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2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan