How a single word undermines our credibility

This is basic civics:

Legislators introduce bills, debate bills and vote on bills. If passed, those bills go to a chief executive – in state government, that is the governor – who either vetoes them or signs them.

If the governor signs a bill, it becomes a law. If he vetoes it, the legislature has a chance to override the veto and still turn the bill into a law.

Until then, a bill is just a bill. Or it is legislation. It is not law.

Using a headline that says, “New helmet law targets motorcycle owners” not only misleads readers and viewers, but it tarnishes our credibility. If we don’t understand how the legislative process works, how can anyone trust us to write stories about it?

If we don’t understand the language well enough to convey basic information, how can we expect anyone to understand us?

Those are rhetorical questions, of course, but they are well worth thinking about.

I’d suggest thinking about them during a three-minute civics review session.

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