In the last couple of weeks, BBC news described extreme-right racist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as “populist” – Populist Salvini – and described left-leaning American Democrat Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “millennial” – Millennial Cortez.
It is not unusual for the BBC to be too fearful to be bold with its political descriptions and it is also not unusual for it to use modern phraseology clumsily, but the word choices mentioned above are very deliberate with a related agenda.
“Populist” was chosen because it hid Salvini’s extreme right racist politics. The agenda behind the BBC’s word choice is normalisation of extreme right anti-humanity views while deriding the concept of popular politics as different from establishment politics.
Equally, and simultaneously oppositely, “millennial” was chosen because it hid socialist tendencies of Cortez, but the BBC’s motivation to obscure such tendencies was to keep the word “socialism” out of discourse because it might otherwise be viewed positively.
These word choices by the BBC are considered very carefully in advance. It is editorial policy to remove negative descriptions of the extreme right and it is editorial policy to not use the word socialism for fear that viewers and listeners might associate the word with political views they like.