Watching Fox News provides a living lesson in how right-wing propagandists use and abuse language to indoctrinate weak minds. They carefully craft how they frame issues in order to manipulate their already deluded audience into embracing their conservative biases and conspiracy theories.
Among the rhetorical carrots that Fox News and Republicans have been dangling temptingly before their screed-starved supplicants is the newly coined “woke” polemic that the right defines broadly as any passingly liberal sounding policy that can be spun into a pseudo-scandal.
Everything from Critical Race Theory to voting rights to progressive taxation to climate change, and more can be lumped into what the right regards as “wokism.” It’s become a catch-all pejorative for whatever is bothering them at any particular moment. Never mind that it’s original meaning, as used in the Black community, was simply to be informed, educated and conscious of social injustice. And those are qualities that are anathema to conservatives.
On Tuesday Greg Gutfeld of Fox News added another word to the wingnut lexicon that required redefinition by the the right. Gutfeld presented his candidate for politically correcting verbiage: “Equity.”
Gutfeld’s conspiracy theory is that there is a coordinated effort by some nefarious unnamed liberal cabal to replace the word “equality” with the word “equity.” He warns that “it’s really important that people understand what the difference is, because one is about peace and the other is about war.” And how does he justify that bizarre distinction? With a tortured illogic that mauls the definitions of both words (video below).
“Equality simply defined is that people have the same opportunities to achieve the same goals. We’re all at the same starting place. Equity though is we enforce limits on achievement so no one achieves more than anyone else. That will punish the really hard workers. That leads to war. That is socialism.”
WHUT? Gutfeld is not even close to the actual meanings of either word. Equality has nothing to do with “opportunities” or “starting places.” For the record, equality is the state in which people have the same stature and/or class. And while that sounds admirable, it can mean that two people can be discriminated against in the same measure and that would still be considered equality.
Equity means fairness and impartiality. So it requires that there be no discrimination. The words are complimentary, not contradictory. Of course, none of that matters to Gutfeld or Fox News. All they are interested in is smoothing a path to express their inherent racism. However, Gutfeld went even farther to demonize equity as something harmful and associated with oppression.
“So equality gives everybody a step up, and equity crushes from above. And you have to remind yourself of this. Whenever you run into this situation because people are gonna are always try to replace equality with equity and you can see it in news reports. They’ll just let the word equity fly by. That is an evil word. It is a word that caused communism. It’s part of socialism.”
One would have to have a pretty twisted perspective to link equity with something that “crushes from above.” And to characterize equity as “evil” is evidence of a perverse misunderstanding of the English language, if not a wholly warped worldview. Embracing such a depraved paradigm would naturally lead Gutfeld to the ludicrous conclusion that “equity” begets communism.
Gutfeld is Fox’s court jester. He is supposed to be their comic relief. But he isn’t joking about this. And conservatives have never been known for their sense of humor anyway.
Nevertheless, this is emblematic of how right-wing media and Republican politicians communicate. They take words that are already in common use and distort them to express something entirely different and utterly deplorable. Then they accuse anyone who engages in whatever practice it is that they have absurdly redefined, of being corrupt or dishonest or otherwise undesirable. Which, ironically, is a strikingly accurate definition of themselves.
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Fox host: Equity "is an evil word. It is a word that causes communism" and "leads to war" pic.twitter.com/DRy6qFD1LR
— Kat Abu (@abughazalehkat) January 17, 2023
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