And so it begins.
CNN’s John King: “Before we go to break, I want to make a quick point. We were having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race. My friend Andy Shaw used the term ‘in the crosshairs’ in talking about the candidates. We’re trying, we’re trying to get away from that language. Andy is a good friend, he’s covered politics for a long time, but we’re trying to get away from that kind of language.”
What “kind of langauge”? Oh, you know: vivid language. Metaphors. Similes. Can’t have that on CNN, because, as everyone knows, a completely unrelated use of a cross-hairs graphic on a Sarah Palin campaign map had nothing to do with the shooting of Rep. Gaby Giffords and 19 others, but the media decided to make everyone think it was the fault of the map anyway. So now a news network, which is supposed to convey information, is apologizing for a guest’s use of the word “cross-hairs” in a context that had nothing to do with violence.
This is embracing Orwellian Newspeak, make no mistake about it. It is an effort to restrict thought and communication by limiting the words and images that are necessary to express them. Using “cross-hairs” makes you bad, according to CNN. Irresponsible. Violent. An instigator. As bad as…Saaaaaaaaaaaraaahhhhhhhhhhh PaaaaaaaLiiiiiiin!!!!! Aiiiiiiiii!!!
What words will be banned next? The sky’s the limit, once the thought and language police are given free rein by those lily-livered champions of our First Amendment rights, journalists. To be “hoisted by his own petard” refers to a bomb blowing up: better apologize if anyone uses that one, John. Speaker John Boehner has already agreed that saying a law is “job-killing” renders it irresponsible, so any imagery using kill/killed/killer/killing/ is banned too, presumably. “Obama’s veto will kill any chance of repealing health care”—uh,uh,UH! This is bad! Remember Gaby!
Using “target” as a verb also evokes cross hairs, so saying that the New York Yankees were targeting Cliff Lee to upgrade their pitching this off-season would be risking getting someone shot, right? I don’t know what the retail chain Target is going to do: its logo is an incitement to violence. You’re not taking any ads from that violent company, right, CNN?
The whole issue of violent rhetoric is a minefield.. Oops! I apologize! That imagery might cause someone to mine a Safeway parking lot! “Words matter,” right, Thought Police? I’m sorry. That sentence landed like a grenade in the middle of…Oh no!!! I did it again! That’s another image we have to ban, right CNN? And can I assume that the media has appointed itself the head of the Ministry of Metaphors? Meanwhile, if “cross-hairs” is too provocative to say on TV because of its violent associations, how long before the fictional use of guns, and dramatically portrayed violence of all sorts in video games and movies and television is declared dangerous and intolerable too?
King and CNN are a disgrace to their profession, their nation, and the language, and their cretinous, politically motivated effort to castrate political discourse should disgust and frighten every American, journalist or not, whose politics lie anywhere between Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck.
I don’t want to even look at John King until he apologizes for his fatuous, cowardly, anti-democratic apology or until CNN sacks him, and I personally vow to say or write “cross-hairs” every day until he does.
Yes, it’s true: you are in my cross-hairs, John.
Addendum: I am embarrassed to admit that it took James Taranto on the Wall Street Journal website to remind me that CNN hosted the long-time public policy debate program, “Crossfire”.