In propaganda this is what is known as a “weasel phrase.” Weasel phrases are used to obfuscate the truth. Weasel phrases mislead those either without the time, or without the sense to see or look any deeper. The problem is it works!
Principles of Addiction Medicine devotes a chapter to Physician Health Programs. Written by Paul Earley, M.D., FASAM,1 Earley states that the lifetime prevalence of substance abuse or addiction in physicians found by Hughes2 is “somewhat less than the percentage in the general population reported by Kessler” of 14.6%.3
Although he specifies the numerical percentage “in physicians at 7.9%,”3 he avoids the use of numbers (14.6%) in the general population. He instead uses the qualifier “somewhat less.” Why is this?
My guess is because it understates the statistical fact that the prevalence found by Kessler in the general population was almost twice that found by Hughes in physicians.
You see, “Somewhat less” is a “detensifier.” It creates an impression of a small disparity between doctors and the general population.
In propaganda this is what is known as a “weasel phrase.” Weasel phrases are used to obfuscate the…
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