News + Culture

Why Washington Jargon is Like Marketing

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LSB CEO Marsha Lindsay was interviewed by NPR’s Alan Greenblatt for a piece titled “A User’s Guide to Washington Jargon.” The article focuses on the words and language used in politics that end up being used (or overused?) by those outside the Beltway.

In the article, the word “sequestration” is examined. Words like this, which are popularized by soundbites, become the emotional shorthand we use to convey complex ideas.

Just as a picture can be worth a thousand words, we can be trained to hear in a single word or two a lot of detail and meaning. “Either they’re deliberately crafted because their meaning has been pretested, or they’re recognized by the press pickups or blogosphere to have some resonance,” said Marsha Lindsay to NPR.

Through resonance, words like sequestration take on emotional meaning over time from frequent use. It’s no different from the world of marketing –where the copywriter, speechwriter or communicator crafts the right word or mix of words to create emotional associations and hopefully, sales for a client.


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