Against Euphemisms

Here’s a headline from the Washington Post:

Maybe this was just tiredness on my part, but I read about half this piece thinking that Rampell was making some kind of policy critique of Republicans. It wasn’t until the second half, when her sarcasm became stronger, that I realized she was merely saying that Republicans are lying about nearly all their policies. I don’t know if the choice of “mischaracterizing” was hers or the copy desk’s, but it shows the danger of getting too fond of euphemisms. There’s a point at which it tiptoes around your meaning so much that readers have a hard time understanding you.

Anyway, yes: Republicans have systematically and obviously lied about the rationale for their tax cuts, their family separation policy, and their support for protection of pre-existing conditions. Why? That’s pretty obvious too: their real reasons are unpopular and, in some cases, loathsome. Of course they have to lie about them.

But if you just can’t bring yourself to use the word lying—either because of company policy or because you think it turns off too many readers—at least use something close:

  • deceiving
  • BSing
  • fabricating
  • faking
  • misleading
  • falsifying
  • fibbing

There are plenty of others. There’s really no reason to be coy about this anymore.


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