The book Doublespeak by William Lutz defines the term as language that:
- Pretends to communicate but does not
- Makes bad things seem less bad, negatives appear to be positives, unpleasant things appear to be attractive or at least tolerable
- Shifts responsibility and hides causes
- Conceals meaning and prevents thought
Language should serve communication, but doublespeak is about “misleading, distorting, deceiving, inflating, circumventing and obfuscating.” Naming the FCC seizure of vast regulatory power as “net neutrality” is a classic example of doublespeak marketing. There is nothing neutral about it. The free, quickly evolving neutrality of the net is actually coming to an end.
Regardless of your politics, for or against regulation of the Internet, the misleading label the FCC is using should give everyone pause. Governments use doublespeak constantly. Companies should not. The public is smarter than you think–remember AIG’s attempt at renaming itself in order to distance itself from the financial meltdown. The public knows dishonest doublespeak marketing communication goes hand-in-hand with dishonest practices.