The magician, like the priest, may know perfectly well how his patter misleads the audience, the congregation. The public may understand the journalist's word much differently than the journalist or his organ or his organ's sponsors may mean it: and the journalist and his organ and that organ's sponsors may know perfectly well how their published diction will be misread: and ride the wave: just like the magician, the priest ... the teacher, the politician ...
There was a word I was much misled by in the 1960s. I could have been warned by Jules Henry's Culture Against Man, but I didn't read more than a page of that book till its pages had yellowed and broken into sere fragments in the half-century since I bought it. What I had not guessed was that the culture's mis-manipulation of the term was chaired by my wife's mother's second husband: Dr. Emil Benoit.
Look it up, find Henry's masterpiece. You think "disarmament" would mean, you have weapons? get rid of them. Or at least, you have weapons? get rid of some of them. Of course we were talking about ourselves and the Soviets, so we knew it didn't mean, we have weapons, the Nazis won, now the Nazis are confiscating all our weapons, so they can rule, unopposed.
I'll tell you what Henry revealed, that I hadn't known, after I divulge the family complexities: I met Hilary. Divorse and remarriage had given Hilary two sets of parents. Her father was Marcus Fleming, the IMF economist. Harvard published his papers, there's a Nobel prize in economics named for him: the Fleming effect, or some such. Her mother was employed by the UN as an economist. Marcus remarried on doctor in economics also working for the World Bank, IMF. Etta remarried Professor Emile Beniot, two PhDs from Harvard, professor of economics at Columbia's graduate Business School. (And now our son goes yawing about economics! Yai!)
So: you'd think "disarmament would mean something like, "We have enough weaponry to kill every human being (and most non-human beings) twenty times over: we'll get rid of some of ours if you get rid of some of yours." That's what the public was intended to think it meant. Meanwhile the government, Columbia Business, Harvard, the WB, the IMF ... all knew perfectly well that that is not what it meant: not as reinvented by Emile and his Disarmament Committee: it meant something more like this (the figures are symbolic, I make them up):
We have one hundred billion worth of weapons. Last year we added one hundred million worth of new weapons. At this rate, we'll add one hundred fifty million next year. We acknowledge without public discussion that our Columbia and Harvard economists have transformed the nation into one in which prosperity only occurs in relation to coercive taxation and coerced government spending. Bobby and Jo and Sally may do very well without defense contracts that spend ever more, the money going to friends of the administration, but Lockheed and Dupont and Washington DC will not do very well unless we drop ever greater loads of napalm onto little gook girls across the world and far away.
So, Emile Benoit and his cronies translated "disarmament" to mean: we have one hundred billion worth of weapons. Last year we added one hundred million worth of new weapons. With disarmament, we'll only add one hundred forty-five million next year: and the moron public will think we disarmed! Ha, ha, ha.
The joke is exactly like the one I pointed out to Nixon's White House. Nixon said that he might be able to pull US troops out of Vietnam by election time, if our prisoners of war were released. A year later he said that he might be able to pull US troops out of Vietnam by Christmas time, if our prisoners of war were released. Then the next year he said the same again: by election time. Meantime years were rolling by, lots of bombs dropped on lots of people. It sounded like he was disarming; actually he was escalating his continuation of illegal war.
Knatz.com published my old letter to Nixon on the subject. I'll put it back up at paulknatz blog. Pronto.