For the political or news channel novice, turning on MSNBC, CNN or the Fox News Channel, you may find yourself trying to learn a new language. While most of the words are nearly exclusive to news networks are not fads introduced into the American Lexicon, they are still words not found in common conversation. Even further, the casual watcher may find themselves becoming mixed up between the jargon used on particular networks. Certain figureheads on the networks have even drummed up their own labels and use them rather than what is commonly accepted.
Bill O’Reilly, who hosts his own show The O’Reilly Factor has taken to using terms that you find almost exclusively on his show and by those who follow him closely. Terms such as secular progressive, while not new to the American language have been injected into his political language along with their counterparts, traditionalists. However, in his opinion, things are not so blank and white and the terms can be mixed around to fit a particular person’s point of view. Nevertheless, those unfamiliar with the terms and how he uses them may find themselves raising a brow the first time it graces their ears.
While no other network provides a person with such a different take on the political language, novices will still find themselves at a bit of a loss when trying to follow the political shows. Common terms such as sectarian violence, low intensity and high intensity civil wars, GOP, amongst other things will have the average viewer turning their heads in confusion. While the definition of most of the terms can be understood by simply using some context clues, others may find the viewer in need of a crash course in US Government.
Before falling in love with these news networks, I found myself completely and utterly out of the loop. Beyond the ever changing political and global landscape, the speed at which the people addressed the issues and the angles taken were enough to run circles around my head. After a week or two, things began to sink in without much trouble but people around me would sometimes have no clue as to what I was talking about or what words were used to describe the said topic.
The problem is most of these shows are geared towards a certain group of people, mostly for the sake of ratings. It is only the few shows that generate such a large viewer base that has the liberty to push the envelope. So far those of you looking to catch up with politics on a regular basis, your best bet is to pick up the newspaper on a regular basis or take a trip to your local bookstore and see if they have something along the lines of Political Jargon for Dummies.