Fear of terror

Listening to the radio this morning, I came to the conclusion that there are some words which should be banned from news reporting. “Terror” instead of “terrorism” is the obvious one – it’s pointless and it leads to nonsensical coinages like the one above, which I have seen more than once.

But there are others which are just lazy. The one which raised my ire earlier was a reference to the “fuel crisis” which, at this stage, barely even counts as a crisis for the people it’s happening to, let alone the rest of us. Then the increasingly belligerent John Humphrys, in a conversation with David Cameron (for whom I have no love) during which Cameron barely edged a word in, used the word “fiasco” to refer to an event so unfiascolike (what? it’s a word) that I can’t even remember what it was.

I propose a ban on lazy clichés in news reporting. No crises, no fiascos, no terror. The only exception should be use of the suffix “-gate” to describe a faintly scandalous occurence, which should be made compulsory where the location of the event already ends in “gate”. I want to see a story about Tessa Jowell roaming around SE14 dressed in combat gear and waving an Uzi described as “New Cross Gategate”.

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