The bookshelves are picking up on the art of persuasion - see "Words that Work - It's Not what You Say, It's What People Hear," by Frank Luntz, Hyperion 2007. Make a chart of the same reality said directly, or euphemized (made to sound better); or dysphemized (made to sound worse). Euphemism and dysphemism are common propaganda techniques - steer the hearer to a point of view without their even knowing.
This book focuses on the euphemism - and not all are dysfunctional. Some are fairly descriptive. However, the choice leads a hearer to want to believe something, negative or positive; or take some action, do something; and not just get further information before alliances are made. People unawares.
Some are mild. Watch the degree of revulsion engendered for any other position:
- wiretappings become electronic intercepts, like football - hurrah
- tax cuts become tax relief, as though taxes do no good in the first place, and are mere burden
- trial lawyers become personal injury lawyers, associating the injury with the lawyer
- drilling for oil becomes exploring for energy - that's exciting, and not noisy, messy and profiteering
- alternative energy becomes renewable energy. This one does inform - ok.
- globalization becomes free market economy - hard to say what is being sold. Small entrepreneurs watch out for the benefits you get from all this freedom of the big guys to cross over
- vouchers or school choice become parental choice or opportunity scholarships
- privatizing social security (like private country clubs), in a current downturn because of the tanking economy, may become, in the next incarnation, personalizing social security
Find it at Hello, Fodder, Propaganda Techniques 1937 ; and Hello, Fodder, Euphemism.
For Dysphemism, including uses of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), see Joy of Equivocating, Dysphemism.