Let's talk scare quotes for a moment.
Regular GetReligion readers know what we mean when we use that term.
I bring up this topic again today because of a note I received from a regular reader, who opined:
Notice how whenever the Left invents a new phrase, the media adopt it immediately and uncritically, while well-known, long-understood and uncontroversial words and phrases get scare quotes? Oh, of course you do.
"Aid-in-dying" gets no scare quotes, while "religious freedom" always does?
The reader included a link to a San Francisco Chronicle story:
Actually, the Chronicle lede does include scare quotes — just not around the phrase 'aid-in-dying":
SACRAMENTO — The California Medical Association has become the first state medical association in the nation to drop opposition to what has long been known as “physician-assisted suicide,” it said, acknowledging a shift in doctor and patient attitudes about end-of-life and aid-in-dying options.
The move comes as the doctors organization removed its opposition Wednesday to a controversial aid-in-dying bill that would allow terminally ill Californians to end their lives with doctor-prescribed drugs.
The medical association recently changed its internal policies so that it is neutral on the issue, deleting language that referred to aid in dying as “physician-assisted suicide.” The group has long opposed aid in dying on grounds that it violates doctors’ ethical and moral obligations to provide the best treatment possible.
So why does "physician-assisted suicide" demand quote marks, while "aid-in-dying" does not?
Like the San Francisco paper, the Los Angles Times presents "aid-in-dying" with no scare quotes:
Last year, though, the Times did use quote marks around "aid in dying":
The Los Angeles newspaper has varied, too, on scare quotes — or not — on "religious freedom":
Back to the reader's original question: In the case of "aid-in-dying," does the lack of scare quotes reflect media bias? Or is there a legitimate journalistic reason why "physician-assisted suicide" or "religious freedom" might get the scare quote treatment while "aid-in-dying" does not?
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