BSA Podcast #12 - WEASEL WORDS - How Advertising and Pundits Lie

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[BSAlert *exclusive*]
In our twelfth podcast we take on the advertising and propaganda industries and expose WEASEL WORDS: How people are lied to and misled about everything from products to promises to history and politics.

Using carefully-selected words and crafted phrases, advertisers and political pundits make you think one thing, but are actually saying another. Join us as we delve into this seedy and mysterious realm where all is not what it appears to be!

To discuss the topics of this podcast leave comments here

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Examples of Weasel Words:
  • "FREE.." (a wholly abused term which has essentially found a new, perverse meaning which usually resolves to "free provisionally/with conditions")
  • "..can/may/could.." (suggesting something MAY or may not be possible, as opposed to "will")
  • "..up to.." " as little as.." (suggesting some results MAY happen in a certain circumstance, but with no actual guarantee)
  • "People say..." (Which people? How do they know?)
  • "It has been claimed that..." (By whom, where, when?)
  • "Critics claim..." (Which critics?)
  • "... may help ..." (Might help, then again, might be completely useless, even counterproductive)
  • "Clearly..." (As if the premise is undeniably true)
  • "It stands to reason that..." (Again, as if the premise is undeniably true - see "Clearly" above)
  • "Questions have been raised..." (Implies a fatal flaw has been discovered)
  • "I heard that..." (Who told you? Is the source reliable?)
  • "There is evidence that..." (What evidence? Is the source reliable?)
  • "Experience shows that..." (Whose experience? What was the experience? How does it demonstrate this?)
  • "It has been mentioned that..." (Who are these mentioners? Can they be trusted?)
  • "Popular wisdom has it that..." (Is popular wisdom a test of truth?)
  • "Commonsense has it/insists that..." (The common sense of whom? Who says so? See "Popular wisdom" above, and "It is known that" below)
  • "It is known that..." (By whom and by what method is it known?)
  • "Officially known as..." (By whom, where, when - who says so?)
  • "It turns out that..." (How does it turn out?)
  • "It was noted that..." (A commonly used start of a line by Auditors with poor workpapers or little evidence)
  • "Our product is so good, it was even given away in celebrity gift bags." (True, perhaps, but not relevant.)
  • "See why more of our trucks are sold in Southern California than in any other part of the country." (Southern California is a big vehicle market.)
  • "Nobody else's product is better than ours." (What is the evidence of this?)
  • "Studies show..." (what studies?)
  • "(The phenomenon) came to be seen as..." (by whom?)
  • "Some argue..." (who?)
  • "Up to sixty percent..." (so, 59%? 50%? 10%?)
  • "More than seventy percent...(How many more? 80%? 90%?)
  • "The vast majority..." (All, almost all, more than half - how many?)

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Like it? Hate it? Please leave a comment with feedback!


Posted by Andy on 2010-01-11 09:47:19
Happy for you to use my weasel toon but would prefer at least a link as acknowledgement.

thank you
Posted by pbsa on 2023-01-03 10:15:11
Hi Andy... thank you I will credit you.


Name: (change name for anonymous posting)

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