Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pop Media Bias Quiz

As we know class, Wikipedia, like all new media, is to be read carefully, with due attention to biases and the use of euphemisms, jargon and buzz words. And, as we have discussed, these neologisms are employed by the media and other bodies to obscure, rather than reveal the facts. These euphemisms come from a variety of sources and are occasionally interesting and enlightening to trace.

In the following exercise:

1) identify the media-approved euphemisms in the text provided and suggest alternative wording that clearly describes the sense of the thing described.

2) choose one term and trace its origins. (eg: "pregnancy" is a term now used to mean the time at which an embryo implants in the endometrium. This started with certain decisions, taken on the advice of physicians who were being paid to promote the new hormonal contraceptives in order to hide its abortifacient effect, made by national medical bodies in the US in the 1960s.) Give names and dates of first appearances if possible.

Women on Waves (WoW) is a Dutch, non-profit, pro-choice, women's human rights organization created in 1999 by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, in order to bring reproductive health services, particularly non-surgical abortion services, to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Other services offered by WoW include contraception and reproductive counseling. Services are provided on a commissioned ship that contains a specially constructed mobile clinic. When WoW visits a country, women make appointments, and are taken on board the ship. The ship then sails out to international waters (where Dutch laws are in effect on board the ship) to perform the medical abortions.