One major way in which conservatives have been successful in changing policy in America over the last decade or so is by changing the way in which we talk about issues in the first place. The most obvious example is global warming, which slowly morphed into the much more cuddly "climate change" early in the Bush administration. Well, according to New York Times stat guru Nate Silver, one area where conservatives have been very successful in corrupting public conversation is gun control, where they've slowly shifted our vocabulary since the Clinton administration.
Silver put up a post on Friday night that details a sharp decline in the use of the phrase "gun control" in the media, coupled with a gradual rise in the phrases "Second Amendment" and "gun rights."
In 1993 and 1994, when Congress was debating a ban on assault weapons, the phrase "gun control" was used about three times per 1,000 news articles. Use of the term was even higher after the mass shootings in Columbine, Colo., peaking at 3.7 instances per 1,000 articles in 1999. It reached a low point in 2010, when the term "gun control" was used 0.3 times per 1,000 articles - less than one-tenth as often as in the year after the Columbine shootings.
Silver's conclusion is that the opponents of stricter gun laws have been successful in changing the debate over gun control into one of Constitutional protections, but you should really go look at the graphs in his post, which put the data in pretty stark terms. Oh, and if you catch yourself saying "gun rights," stop.
[via 538, image via Getty]