The American Heritage Dictionary says the term “personality, for celebrity or notable, is widely used in speech and journalism.” I would add that it can be used when reporters want to avoid telling¬† the truth about an individual. An example of this was in an AP story, Sept. 13, 2017, about the White House naming Hope Hicks as communications director.¬† The story explains: “Hicks, 28, is the third White House communications director¬† in nearly eight months. Her predecessor, Wall Street personality Anthony Scaramucci, served in the role for less than two weeks.” The accurate description of Scaramucci would be¬† rich, foul-mouthed, jerk.
The story, if used in Boston’s late, lamented Mid-Town Journal, would be headlined: White House Hicks Hope Hope Hicks Sticks.
File under: Euphemisms at work in the newsroom.
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