Leaked Mainstream Media Dictionary

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Al-Jazeera has started a new project–an online dictionary of words and phrases the mainstream media (which I–though not everyone–would argue they’re a part of) uses when writing/talking about whatever the news story of the day happens to be. It’s either darkly funny or painfully true, or perhaps a combination of both.

For example: accident. n.

Airstrike in Afghanistan by NATO/ISAF forces usually killing scores of men, women and children.

airstrike. n.

See accident.

anchor. n.

Suited, autocue/teleprompter reader. Raises eyebrow when asking tough questions. Shakes head in empathy when informing viewer of death and destruction.

Prone to asking, “What’s the latest?” and “How significant is this?”

Oftentimes asked to talk to a blank screen on occasion. See ad lib and breaking news.

So far only A and B have been released. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the alphabet.


Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →