Radio One delivers

August 20th, 2008
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“… the message was delivered by a Taliban spokesperson…”

The World at Six, CBC Radio One
We should all by now be used to the neutering of language in most public discourse (e.g. “chairperson”, “Mr. Chair”, firefighter, etc.). What makes the usage above a collossal boner is the fact that, if you could ever be certain about using the term “spokesman”, it would be with the Taliban. After all, they by all reports do not let women have any public role whatsoever, let alone to act as “spokespersons”.
To add another layer of humour, in THE SAME report, the newsreader referred to a “spokesman” from our Prime Minister’s office denouncing Taliban threats against Canadians. Given the usage with the Taliban (and everywhere else) one can only assume the latter was an error that slipped by the beleaguered CBC copy editor.
Just another word to express our disgust at the murder of the Canadian aid workers at the hands of the “spokesperson’s” colleagues. Perhaps CBC should ask the Taliban whether they are not offended by the use of “person” rather than “man”. Wouldn’t want to upset them any further.
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