A letter to the NYTimes is signed by Roxana Robinson, former president of the Authors Guild, and 32 other writers. It exhorts The Times to “use precise and forceful language that reveals the struggle in which we now find ourselves.”
… Using [“quid pro quo”] — which means simply “this for that” — as synonymous with criminality is confusing to the public… Please use words that refer only to criminal behavior here. Use “bribery” or “extortion”… The more we hear words that carry moral imputations, the more we understand the criminal nature of the act.
Please also stop using the phrase “dig up dirt”… Use the more formal, direct and powerful phrase “create false evidence,” or “find incriminating evidence” or the simpler “tell lies about.”
“A Plea from 33 Writers: Words Matter. Stop Using Quid Pro Quo,” letter to the NYTimes, 11-8-19)
(c) 2019 JMN