The uncommonly bad language of Mr Julian Assange

Yesterday, after the fatal bombing of the US embassy in Libya, WikiLeaks tweeted:

By the US accepting the UK siege on the Ecuadorian embassy in London it gave tacit approval for attacks on embassies around the world.

This tweet was later deleted (screengrab here), and these went up instead:

By the US accepting the UK threat to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London it helped to normalize attacks on embassies.

By the UK threatening to breach the Ecuadorian embassy in London it helped to normalize attacks on embassies, in general. It must retract.

We can all make up our own minds about the politics and morality of this. But I’m running a language blog here, so my beef is with the explanation that followed:

We have deleted and rephrased a previous tweet with the word ‘tacit’ in it, since the word is rare and was being misinterpreted.

The problem with this is that the word ‘misinterpreted’ is even rarer than the word ‘tacit’, as this Google Books Ngram shows:

Likewise for ‘misinterpret’ in the present tense. Oh, and ‘normalize’:

So the replacement tweets were, logically, even more incomprehensible than the original.

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