"if you control the language, you own the debate"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Nov 17 18:07:48 UTC 2003

Not all "bureaucratese" is obfuscatory, it turns out.  Here is a government 
agency apologizing for the use of the wrong jargon term.  ("AOA Highlights" is 
an internal electronic newsletter for the FAA).

There's hope for the bureaucracy!

<begin quote>
 VIVE LA DIFFERENCE:  Recently, we have gotten sloppy by using the word
"privatization" in discussing FAA reauthorization, and several AOA
Highlights readers have rightly called us on this.  We should be using
"contracting out" or some such, rather than "privatizing" when referring to
the use of contract personnel at contract towers.  A distinction without a
difference?  Not on your life.  A crucial difference on which hinges the
whole debate.  As someone once said, if you control the language, you own
the debate.

"Privatizing" means turning over the entire operation ? lock, stock, and
barrel ? to the private sector.  With "contracting out," on the other hand,
the government still retains a major role.  FAA continues to certify
contract controllers and monitor contract tower facilities.  FAA continues
to fund the effort, sets the performance standards, makes sure the
personnel and facilities meet the standards, and the like. The standards
and performance expectations are no different for "contact towers" than
they are for "Federal towers."
<end quote>

            James A. Landau
            systems engineer
            FAA Technical Center (ACB-510/BCI)
            Atlantic City Int'l Airport   NJ   08405   USA

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