Name: Andy Bechtel From: UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States About me: I teach editing and writing at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. I'm interested in new ways to tell news stories and in the ethical and political ramifications of word choices (terrorist surveillance program, domestic spying or something in between?).
I have 12 years of experience in newspaper editing, most recently at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.
This loud exchange between Chris Matthews of MSNBC and a radio host from Southern California has been making noise on the Web. Matthews challenges the host to define "appeasement" and explain its historical context. He has no answer.
Sometimes this sort of thing can come off as a "gotcha" moment. ("Who is the leader of Uzbekistan? Why don't you know that?") But here, "appeasement" is crucial to the discussion regarding recent comments by President Bush and BarackObama. Matthews was correct to press the point.
The "appeasement" discussion also presents an opportunity for newspapers to provide this context to readers. Why not include a textbox with stories about this news? Start with the dictionary definition, and then summarize what the word means in relation to Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler.