Cuttlefish squirts out ink in the Post 

The Washington Post ran a story Friday on the “coffee party” movement—a liberal response to the tea party movement. The story is reasonably good journalism, of the sort that the Post and other mainstream media might have run when the tea party movement broke out but mostly did not. What caught my eye was the unintentionally revealing caption to a picture of coffee party movement founder Annabel Park, which describes “the Coffee Party, which seeks inclusive political discourse.” The text of the story makes it clear that the coffee party seeks to promote a certain type of political discourse, in opposition to the discourse promoted by the tea parties—which of course people have the right to do in a free society. It’s not “inclusive” in the sense of welcoming expressions contrary to those of its promoters. Perhaps the implication is that the tea party movement is not “inclusive” in the sense of including people of color, a charge made frequently by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann—although as the Dallas tea party people pointed out (hat tip: Instapundit), there are a lot more people of color in their movement than on Olbermann’s MSNBC program.

“The Coffee Party . . . seeks inclusive political discourse” seems to me to be the kind of phrase that George Orwell had in mid when he wrote “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.” Does anyone at the Post edit these photo captions?

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Michael Barone

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