Words Matter

by digby


With all eyes on the possibility of increased U.S. government ownership of embattled bank Citibank, and with increased discussion of the need for a government takeover of other major banks, a new USA Today/Gallup poll indicates that Americans' reactions to these prospects vary significantly, depending on how the process is described to them. A majority of Americans (54%) favor a temporary government "takeover" of major U.S. banks, but a much lower minority (37%) favor a temporary "nationalization" of the banks.

I find this interesting because it means that the conservatives have penetrated to greater degree than I thought with this stuff. I just didn't think that most people had an opinion on "nationalizing" things, but I guess they have made that leap from nationalization to "socialism" quite naturally --- or maybe it's just the old "the government is the problem" cant.

I'm not a big believer that such propaganda can be disappeared overnight simply by using new words, so I don' t know how useful it will be to just start speaking differently. (Those who find it in their interest to keep that frame will not just quietly retire from the stage.) However, it is always interesting to see just how important language is in selling certain ideas. I honestly didn't know that so many people had absorbed the right wing concept that "nationalizing" was a terrible idea. Doyou suppose most of them have any idea why they think that?

Anyway, here's a primer from CAF on "good" temporary take-over and "bad" temporary take-over.

And what up with this?