As we close in on the start of the election season in earnest, with the New Hampshire Republican primary just around the corner, it's an ideal time to have a quick look at what you'll be seeing both on mainstream media outlets and from politicians.
Whether you're a seasoned corporate political news watcher, or someone who only starts paying attention as presidential elections loom near, it's always useful to have a glossary nearby. Whether you're traveling through a foreign country, studying for that organic chemistry midterm or just watching people on television tell you things, it's easy to get confused without the appropriate translation tool.
If you've ever wondered how a television "expert" becomes an expert, or haven't been able to figure out just what makes that "exclusive" interview with the soccer mom whose husband had the affair so exclusive, this is for you.
In order to provide a better experience when gearing up for the election, I'll provide a glossary of terms as used in the media and by politicians, followed by the meaning of these terms in the real world. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I encourage you to email me the many I'm missing.
When you hear (the following): here's what it really means ...
Chief correspondent: First intern we could get to approach a microphone.
Citizen journalist: Someone working for us for free.
Non-partisan think tank: A think tank we agree with.
Intellectual elites (derogatory): Anyone more articulate than Sarah Palin.
A shocking new poll: An inaccurate poll.
An expert analyst: Someone with a publicist who wouldn't stop calling us, often with no real expertise.
Exclusive interview: An interview other media outlets had the common sense not to pursue.
Unbiased debate: Debate where the news anchor agrees with one side while setting up the other side to look silly with biased questions.
Pro-family: Doesn't like gay and lesbian people, logical sex education, women's right to choose or science.
Traditional marriage: Marriage based on the Bible, but not the part where the Bible says kill a woman who can't prove she's a virgin on her wedding day.
An incredible, shocking story: A story that's untrue, which will later be retracted quietly enough that no one will notice.