Has the media rebranded “gang violence” as “mass shootings”?

You don’t have to pay very much attention to political discourse in the United States to know that “mass shooting” has a very particular definition.  When Americans hear the phrase, they think of one or more psychotic gunmen killing people indiscriminately as an expression of alienation.

It feels deliberate, therefore, that the mainstream media appears to have decided to broaden its use of the term to cover other sorts of shootings affecting more than one people, probably including what used to be known as “gang violence.”

Russians with experience of life in the Soviet Union say that the Communist Party’s propaganda organs would report actual news, but readers had to learn to parse the meaning carefully to understand what was actually going on, and it wasn’t always easy or possible to come to a conclusion.  This Orwellian shift is very much like that.

Across a wide range of issues, we’re seeing how the ability to twist a phrase just a little can make a huge difference in the political meaning of an event.

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