WaPo reporter criticizes use of "loaded" phrase "class warfare"

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon:

I really don't have time to track everything said on CNN and every other network, read every publication that does national news and still report news on my own, so I don't know if "class warfare" is being used every 10 seconds on tv. I suspect not, as it's a loaded term.

Bacon is right; "class warfare" is a loaded (and selectively applied) term. But whether he has noticed or not, the phrase has made its way into quite a few news reports -- and not just those on cable news and in the Politico.

For example, here's a recent Washington Post headline: "Mortgage-Aid Tiff May Portend a New Wave of Class War." That article hyped "the potential for a new wave of class warfare as the president unveils economic plans that reward some people, often at the expense of others."

Another example: on Sunday, the Post will run a column by Jackson Diehl, deputy editor of the paper's editorial board. In the column, which is already available online, Diehl argues that Obama's policies "allow" Republicans to call them "class warfare":

"If anything, Obama has raised the stakes by proposing no funding source other than higher taxes on wealthy Americans, allowing Republicans to raise the cries of 'socialism' and 'class warfare.'"

Then there are the reports that attribute the phrase to Republicans, but don't bother challenging it. Like this, this, and this, all easily found on the Washington Post's web page.

Point being: Bacon is right that reporters shouldn't use the term "class warfare" -- but they're doing it, even if he hasn't noticed.

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