It’s primarily a military term, describing the state in which units shut off their mobile radios. They do so when they’re worried that their signals could be detected by the enemy, revealing their presence and making them vulnerable to attack.
Recently, somebody decided this was a cool way to describe public figures not commenting about an issue. “Radio silence” suggested some sort of complex communications STRATEGY that the crafty person using the term had somehow DECODED.
Example: The oh-so-smart people at the website “Gossip Cop” reported that Scott Disick had gone “radio silent” on his breakup with Kortney Kardashian. Because, you know, Kortney might start bombing him or something if she knew where he was.
We might have hit the ultimate irony of its usage today, courtesy of msnbc.com, which informed us that Megyn Kelly had broken her “radio silence” over the exchange with Donald Trump at the GOP presidential debate last week.
Okay, let’s remember what line of work Ms. Kelly is in. She doesn’t operate out of a submarine or a fighter plane or anything remotely connected to the military. In fact, she can share her thoughts with all of us not with a radio of some sort, but an actual TELEVISION SIGNAL via her employer, FOX NEWS!
She didn’t go “radio silent” about Trump. She just didn’t say anything until now, she says, because she went to the beach with her family for the weekend. Got it?
My advice: If you’re tempted to say “radio silence,” just be quiet and let the impulse pass.