Migrants, ‘jokes’ and tweets –
the language distortions
of broadcast news
by G.A. Ponsonby (11 Sept 2015)
[...] It brings me to the subject of this particular article. How the media can manipulate and stir negative emotion through subtle use of words or phrases.
The word “migrant” is a case in point. It has been used by many UK media outlets to describe the people who have left their homes in order to take perilous, sometimes life-threatening, journeys in order to find sanctuary. The word has been used almost religiously by BBC presenters across the UK. The favourite phrase when reporting on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes is usually “Migrant Crisis”.
[...] What Sarah Smith appears to have missed is that the term “migrant” has been hijacked. The word, as used by right wing sections of the UK media, is redolent with negative connotations. Migrant is fast becoming a de-facto term to describe people who are coming to the UK in order to take advantage of our welfare system, they are spongers. They are provided with shelter, so are taking houses from local people. They work for a pittance, so are putting people born here out of work.
[...] Now I don’t for one moment believe that BBC Scotland presenters are deliberately choosing to use the word ‘migrant’ because of its derogatory meaning. It may in fact be technically correct when seeking to describe people migrating en-masse. But that isn’t the point. The fact is they should realise the negative connotations that are now associated with using it. How difficult would it be to describe these people as refugees?
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