‘ Katrina’, ‘Bird Flu’, ‘Climate Change’ Top List of Hot Political Buzzwords Released by The Global Language Monitor

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List Runs Counter To Every Virtually Every Pundit’s Playbook Nota Bene: The Talking Heads do not always reflect the reality of the worldwide media

MetaNewswire “Acts of God” top the Global Language Monitor’s PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Index of the Top Political Buzzwords for the 3rd Quarter, including four of the Top five: ‘Hurricane Katrina’, ‘Climate Change’, ‘H5N1 Bird Flu’, and ‘Global Warming’.

To the surprise of many, the Washington Pundit’s favorites fell uniformly from the Top Political Buzzwords List tracked during the first six months of 2005. These included: ‘Supreme Court’ (down 3 to No. 4), the ‘Iraq Insurgency’ (down 5 to No. 8), ‘Filibuster’ (down 7 to No. 15), ‘Quagmire’ (down 9 to No. 18) and ‘Out of the Mainstream’ down 11 to No. 27). Breaking into the Top 10 were The New York Times ‘Scandal’ involving Judith Miller debuting at No. 9 and outed ‘Valerie Plame’ appears on the List at No. 10.

“The list runs counter to every virtually every pundit’s playbook,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of GLM. ”Watching the Evening News, one might expect such words as ‘Supreme Court’, ‘Insurgency’, ‘Filibuster’, ‘Quagmire’ and “Out of the Mainstream’ to dominate the List.

The lesson here might be that the ‘Talking Heads’ do not always reflect the reality of the worldwide media. The references to Katrina dwarf anything we’ve ever tracked, surpassing the record set by the passing of Pope John Paul II, while the horrors of both Climate Change and a looming pandemic weigh heavily on the global mind.”

The Top Politically-sensitive Words for the Third Quarter of 2005:

No. 1: Hurricane Katrina

Comment: The long shadow of the ‘05 Hurricane Season casts a pall over all things political.

Factor: Katrina breaks the all-time PQ Index record for citations previously held by the media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II.

No. 2: Climate Change

Comment: The fact that New York City was under 5,000 feet of ice 10,000 years ago escapes most on both sides of the debate.

Factor: Up some 300% from the beginning of the year.

No. 3: H5N1 Bird/Avian Flu

Comment: A looming global pandemic to dwarf the Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages (and AIDS) boggles the contemporary imagination.

Factor: Up 500% for the year. Hopefully, this is where it peaks.

No. 4: Supreme Court

Comment: Down three spots from No. 1. Acts of God have a tendency to put the Acts of Man into proper perspective.

Factor: Up over 800% for the year.

No. 5: Global Warming

Comment: Opponents of the President’s policies prefer ‘global warming’ to the supposedly more neutral ‘climate change’, though the difference is meaningless to those that study language.

Factor: Up 400 for the year.

No. 6: European Union (Dead)

Comment: Though quietly spoken of all year, the French and the Dutch NO votes caused a spike here.

Factor: Up 70% this month.

No. 7: John Paul II

Comment: Still casting a long shadow, longer still in his absence.

Factor: Up another 20% from the preceding month.

No. 8: Insurgency

Comment: Contrary to the Media Pundits and the Polls, insurgency is down five spots from No. 3.

Factor: Still rising but overtaken by the natural catastrophes.

No. 9: New York Times ‘Scandal’

Comment: The ‘Old Gray Lady’ takes another in a series of blows on credibility.

Factor: Up 1300% for the year.

No. 10: Valerie Plame

Comment: Though up 80% for the month, Plamegate barely squeaks into the Top 10.

Factor: Up over 500% for the year.

No. 11: Judith Miller

Comment: The prime reason (this month) for deep divisions in the newsroom at the Times’ .

Factor: Up over 100% for the month.

No. 12: Cindy Sheehan

Comment: The impact of the ‘Iraq War Mom’ is apparently wide but not deep.

Factor: Media coverage up only 200% from her first appearance.

No. 13: Schaivo

Comment: She has come to stand for a far greater battle than that between her husband and family.

Factor: Though down from No. 2, the numbers continue to rise, even after her death.

No. 14: Credibility (Bush/Cheney)

Comment: Down nine spots from No. 5; series of missteps in usually disciplined media machine continues.

Factor: Up 300% in month.

No. 15: Filibuster

Comment: Down seven spots from No. 8. From the Spanish, Filibusteer.

Factor: With all the talk of the ‘nuclear option’, the filibuster ranks among the top political terms few actually understand.

No. 16: Likeability (Bush)

Comment: Bush and ‘likeability’ are still rising modestly despite recent missteps.

Factor: Up about 30% for the month.

No. 17: Throes

Comment: Down ten spots from No. 7, Cheney’s ‘Last Throes’ remark still has ‘legs’.

Factor: Up about 200% in the last month.

No. 18: Quagmire

Comment: Down nine spots from No. 9. Actually means ‘quaking mire’ (and not quaking ‘Miers’).

Factor: Up only 5% for the month but has a large base.

No. 19: Tsunami

Comment: The Indian Ocean Tsunami will be remembered long after the travails of Helen Miers.

Factor: Still has millions of citations.

No. 20: Persistent Vegetative State

Comment: You have to wonder if the persistent rise is referring to the state of the Congress.

Factor: Up some 1600% since the beginning of the year.

Other words being tracked for the index include ‘bubble’, ‘Hillary Clinton 2008, and ‘Gravitas’.

The PQ Index is a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and the Blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets. GLM publishes the PQ Index on a quarterly basis.

The complete list can be found at http://www.LanguageMonitor.com.

The Global Language Monitor documents, analyzes, and tracks the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email or visit http://www.LanguageMonitor.com.


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