Obstructionist Synonyms In Thesaurus Lists Conservative Right Wing Politics As Rednecks

The “obstructionist” definition was listed in Thesaurus.com apparently tried to integrate some political bias since the Thesaurus result claimed that conservative, ring wing politics was the perfect synonym for the term.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Oxford changed its “bigotry” definition to refer to Christian churches and right wing politics. But defenders of the definition claim that Oxford was not purposefully biasing its examples of bigotry since the website also notes:

“All the examples sentences throughout the site are real examples of usage. They are taken from a huge variety of different sources, from all parts of the world where English is used, and they reflect a wide spectrum of views and levels of language. Opinions and views expressed in the usage examples are the views of the individuals concerned and are not endorsed by Oxford University Press.”

The idea that conservatives are obstructionists happens to be a big theme of progressives these past several years. For example, a headline from last month from Slate reads, “The Real Cost to GOP Obstructionism.” The Huffington Post even has a whole section dedicated to “GOP obstruction” and an article from today even refers to efforts to have President Obama impeached as “Republican obstructionism.”

Now Dictionary.com so far does not have any problem with defining obstructionist since it reads:

(1) a person who deliberately delays or prevents progress and (2) a person who delays or obstructs the business before a legislative body by parliamentary contrivance or legalistic maneuvers.

But at one point the sister site for the Thesaurus used to list obstructionist synonyms like moderate, right-winger, right, rightist, Tory, conserver, middle-of-the-roader, moderatist, and unprogressive. The antonyms listed include left-winger, liberal, and progressive. It could be argued that all of those results were biased toward a progressive perspective and have nothing to do with a neutral definition.

Apparently, someone in the company probably agreed the page was biased because the Thesaurus.com has already attempted to wipe clean these politically loaded references, so here’s a screen capture of how the page used to appear:

Obstructionist Thesaurus Screen Capture

Right now it appears the obstructionist page is down and is instead linked to just obstruction. Still, the clean up effort did leave behind some traces since even obstruction lists right-winger near the top of the page as of this writing. If you go to the page for right-winger it lists obstructionist as a synonym in addition to words like reactionary, redneck, stick-in-the-mud, Tory, and bitter-ender. The weirdest synonym yet is the reference to “silk-stocking,” but supposedly that is defined as a “person who is cautious, moderate; an opponent of change.”

Do you believe these organizations are purposefully biasing the definitions of words? Or do you think the references are correct based upon the current usage of the term by some people?