Unprecedented Use of ‘Unprecedented’

The Politico article “The White House’s unprecedented use of ‘unprecedented'” makes a case against the use of “unprecedented” by President Obama and his administration.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Obama White House is addicted to the “unprecedented.”

Perhaps it was a sign when President Barack Obama sat down in January to record his first weekly address and announced: “We begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action.”

What has followed is declaration after declaration of “unprecedented” milestones. Some of them are legitimate firsts, like the president’s online town hall at the White House in May.

But others the president wins merely on a technicality, and several clearly already have precedents.

About 1,500 words later:

But by applying the “unprecedented” label to so many scenarios in government — from transparency to efforts to reduce the environmental impact of mountaintop coal mining — the Obama administration risks outsize expectations and overhype.

Although Politico deserves kudos for caring about language use, I wonder if Politico and the mainstream media would ever tackle LGBT-related words with such zeal.

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