Words and phrases that should die….NOW!

Maybe I’m just getting old, or maybe I’m just nitpicking, but it seems to me the new millennium has seen the twisting or overuse of certain words and phrases. It’s almost as if these new meanings have crept into our collective vocabulary without most of us even knowing it. No matter. They need to die, and I know you can’t kill words or phrases, but c’mon, do we really need to use the following half dozen as often as we do? Here they are, in no particular order.

TEAMTeam….Back in the day, team usually meant sports team, you know, the Yankees, the Knicks. These days, team can mean almost any group of people that either work together or are in close proximity to each other. I realized this the first time I was in a supermarket and heard an announcement saying “Attention Team Members”. Attention management! Just because people work together doesn’t mean they’re a team. They may not even like each other! How about “Attention Hard Workers”? Calling a group a team doesn’t create the cohesion necessary to form a real team. That actually takes work.

move-forwardMoving Forward….What exactly is meant by this? Is it simply a catchphrase, allowing people that nanosecond necessary to say something coherent? I mean, do people ever really move backward? It’s a phrase without substance, nuance, or cohesion. How about we drop it like third period French?

“So” to start a sentence. Like many of these millenialisms, it’s hard to pinpoint when it started. Yet time after time, I hear people, most of them young, start a sentence with the word “so”. Why is anybody’s guess, but it’s become as ubiquitous as ending a sentence with the word “yo”. Wait a minute. Is yo even a word? Anyway, I’m just far more used to hearing “so” used in the middle of a sentence rather than at the beginning. Can we agree to stop doing this, the sooner the better?

At the End of the Day. I’ve actually heard people use this phrase three times in two minutes. It, like some of the others, seems to be a placeholder, a term you use when you’ve run out of things to say. Ever hear anyone say At the Beginning of the Day? Didn’t think so. There are actually other phrases that can be used when you’re building a bridge to a conclusion. How about trying “When all is said and done”. The key, though, is to use it sparingly, not as a rhetorical crutch.

Thought leaderThought Leader. Can anyone seriously say they hard of this before the dawn of the 21st Century? Thought Leader? The first time I heard it, I thought to myself, what they hell is this? A leader of thoughts? Someone so profound that their thinking will lead others to follow like sheep? I can see it now. Sometime in the future, colleges and universities will issue a Bachelor of Thought Leadership. Our great grandkids, when asked what they want to be when they group up will answer, I want to be a thought leader! If we go back in history, there are literally hundreds of men and women who were brilliant thinkers. These are people who had a profound impact on the lives of people in this country and throughout the world. Yet none of them were ever described as thought leaders. Wonder why?

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Mr. or Mrs. President?

…..And They’re Off

America’s presidential sweepstakes have begun in earnest. Ted Hillary_Clinton_Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton have all announced their intentions, with the likes of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and Rick Santorum all trying to figure out when the most opportune time for them to throw their hat in the ring. There’s one thing they all have in common, though. They’re “major party” candidates.

This means they’re somehow entitled to at least one news cycle’s worth of analysis about everything from whether and how they can win, to profiles of their spouses (except Bill Clinton. We know him). The others will get their respective places in the sun when the time comes.

In fact, media coverage of presidential campaigns has become formulaic to the point of numbing the brains of even the most obsessive political junkies. The rest of the population hasn’t yet tuned into the obligatory political spin. This is understandable, given the general election is more than a year away. But still, the form and substance of campaign coverage hasn’t changed much in decades. The reason? Money, pure and simple. The interlocking components of media, polling, and unfettered campaign contributions make starting the horse race early a virtual necessity.

Almost no one asks if the system benefits or hurts anyone, or whether it actually has to be this way.

Do most people in America know the name Jill Stein? It might surprise you to know she too is running for president. However, since she’s not running for the Democratic or Republican nominations, she doesn’t exist. Yet she ran on the Green Party ticket in 2012. Here’s a question for you. Who deserves more coverage, Jill Stein, or the person that finishes dead last in the Republican presidential sweepstakes?

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There are those who think the current process of choosing who will lead the most powerful country on the planet is fine, and does not need fixing.

I disagree.

By focusing time and attention almost exclusively on the “mainstream” candidates of the two “major parties”, the media does a disservice to the democracy we say we have. That, combined with the Citizen’s United decision of the Supreme Court, have created a twisted political universe that shuts the average American out. And make no mistake. That’s just how the players in this game want it. All the players, that is, except you.  I’ve long believed that Americans deserved better coverage of presidential campaigns than we’ve come to accept. I’m thinking there might be some simple things just plain folks can do to cut through the clutter.

The most important one is this: Don’t form your opinion of any candidate based on a single source of information.  Compare and contrast candidate coverage from all forms of media, not just radio or television.

As you evaluate those who would be president, be clear about the priorities you have. Is one a higher minimum wage? Ironing out the kinks in the Affordable Care Act? Police brutality? Whatever you care about, candidates for president ought to be speaking out on them. If they don’t, why vote for them?

Is there are candidate or potential hopeful that you’re following? Or is it to early? You tell me.

 

 

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The Mark Riley Show on Wednesdays

Whether you’re on the road, just getting home from work or just in the mood for progressive opinions on global and national issues, I hope you’ll grab your Smartphone, laptop or desktop computer every Wednesday and join me at 6pm EST  www.prn.fm 

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The Mark Riley Show is my own style of thought provoking analysis around the week’s top news stories. In 40 years working on th air in New York, I’ve certainly got a lot on my mind!

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You can call-in with your opinion at 1-888-874-4888.

If you can’t be there at 6pm, it’s also podcast!!

See you tonight on The Mark Riley Show!

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