Leaked: Mainstream Media's dictionary. Letter A, Part 1 of 26

From air strike to asylum seeker: A handy guide to all you ever wanted to know about &quotjournalist-speak&quot.

    academic. adj.

    Man in bow-tie. Usually represents think-tank or university. Explains the science behind global warming and/or new CERN project while anchor nods pretending to understand.


    accident. n.

    Airstrike in Afghanistan by NATO/ISAF forces usually killing scores of men, women and children.     


    accountability. n.

    The thing our leaders demand of the bad guys.


    ad lib. v.

    The “eerrrrmm...”, “errrr”, “well, let’s take a look at errr...wait...err...”, “let’s bring you up to speed now with the ummmm, latest, and errr, join errrr...” that is often heard from usually articulate news anchor in a breaking news situation.


    admission. n.

    Occurs usually one week after the first pictures of the politician’s sensitive anatomical part appears on the internet, three days after first stringent denial.


    airstrike. n.

    See accident.


    alive. adj.

    Not newsworthy. See dead.


    allegation. n.

    The absolute truth, until the other guy responds in the next bulletin.


    alleviate. v. tr.

    Often used by the UN secretary-general. Usually sandwiched between “aim to” and “poverty”.


    ally. n.

    Visionary leader who hears and obeys the US president. Need not be democratically elected. See reformist.


    amnesty international. n.

    all-knowing, all-seeing, all-hearing superman, batman, spiderman, wonderwoman hybrid force of moral perfection bringing peace, justice and human rights to the world.


    anchor. n.

    Suited, autocue/teleprompter reader. Raises eyebrow when asking tough questions. Shakes head in empathy when informing viewer of death and destruction.

    Prone to asking, “What’s the latest?” and “How significant is this?”

    Oftentimes asked to talk to a blank screen on occasion. See ad lib and breaking news


    answer. n. 

    Something said or done in reaction to question from anchor, often interjected or cut-off before point is made.


    anti-Semite. n.

    Guest or commentator who has ever used the words “Israeli occupation” on network.


    apartheid. n.

    System of South African racial segregation and white supremacy.

    Lasted half a century, ended 17 years ago. No living, contemporary human being has ever been found to have supported it. Unrelated to any other modern conflicts. See anti-Semite.


    apology. n.

    See airstrike accident admission.


    Arabic. n.

    Language heard during news report’s first five seconds of natural sound, usually shouted by bearded men in a fiery collective exclamation of ALLAHU-AKBAR, followed by loud blast, then reporter’s voice and the rest of the news report follows. Recently heard in Benghazi.


    arrest. v. tr.

    Archaic form of dealing with terrorists, superseded by airstrike


    asylum seeker. n.

    Unskilled, usually lazy third-world traveller. Exaggerates own country’s internal problems. Part of broader plot to steal western jobs and destroy the economy.


    atrocity. n.

    Act of mass murder. Only Arab, Asian, African and Balkan leaders capable. See genocide.


    attack. v. tr.

    Act of violence by a non-state group or entity. For state response, see defence retaliation.


    authentic. adj.

    Youtube video and/or blog or Facebook update from activist in restive country. For immediate broadcast.


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