Weasel Words | WisCommunity

Weasel Words

A weasel word (also, anonymous authority) is an informal term for words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that a specific and/or meaningful statement has been made, when only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated, enabling the specific meaning to be denied if the statement is challenged.

Example 1: Walker and Republican joint statement

After substantive discussion over the last day, we have agreed that the provisions relating to any changes in the state’s open records law will be removed from the budget in its entirety. We are steadfastly committed to open and accountable government. The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituents’ privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy. It was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way.
In order to allow for further debate on this issue outside of budget process, the Legislature will form a Legislative Council committee to more appropriately study it and allow for public discussion and input.

Example 2:

Better yet, the Wisconsin Citizens Media cooperative’s, Nicole Desautels, transcribed Walker’s interview with a MJS reporter on the 4th of July before the parade in Wauwatosa. The best possible example of Weasel Words follows:

The interview transcript:
Reporter: “The Legislative privilege open records thing, did your office have input in that? Is that something you’re a part of?”

Walker: “Well, as I mentioned yesterday, we’re gonna sit down and talk with the legislative leaders about that. We actually had already planned a meeting, a follow-up meeting the other day in terms of the Arena where we had all four legislative leaders, but I think it’s pretty clear they need to make some changes in that and we’re gonna work with them on Monday.”

Reporter: “Will you veto it if they don’t make changes?”

Walker: “Uh… certainly it will all depend… we haven’t made commitments on any other vetoes, but those are things that obviously a lotta concerns about. My hope is, after talking with them on Monday, we get to a point where it’s either out completely or there’s significant changes to it.”

Reporter: “Who was behind it? Do you know?”

Walker: “Again, there’s a, as you know, at the end of the legislative process, a lot of things the legislative leadership works on, and uh, for us, uh, as you said, with other things in there, we’ll review it once we see what passes not just the Joint Finance Committee but what gets through the Assembly and the Senate.”

Reporter: “Were you aware, then, before they were presented, and did you object to them?”

Walker: “Again, those are all things we’ll talk about on Monday. We’ll talk about what we’re doing going forward. You know, there’s all sorts of ideas that float around the Capitol before the end of the Joint Finance Committee process. But, uh, I think it’s pretty clear lawmakers from both parties, as well as others, wanna make sure there’s changes, and we’re gonna make sure that happens starting with that meeting on Monday.”

In summary, any parent of a four year old can tell when the child is lying. Walker’s lies are even more transparent than a four year old, and yet he is still getting support from the corporate press, the Koch brothers, and the Republican Party.


July 6, 2015 - 12:00pm