I was just on Al Franken's show a couple hours ago with Frank Luntz of all people. And in the course of the conversation I got to ask Luntz whether it was fair or appropriate for Democrats and/or journalists to refer to the president's policy as 'privatization' or the private accounts he wants to create as 'private accounts.' (As you the TPM reader know, these were the words that Republicans and other phase-out supporters themselves came up with.)
Luntz said that it is okay for Democrats to use these terms but not the press since that would mean they were taking sides in the debate. When I asked why this was so since these were words the president was using only a few weeks ago, what emerged in the course of the conversation is that it is apparently inappropriate for reporters to use a given term after the date on which the president stops using it.
(A logical corrolary of this reasoning would seem to be that they must use the new term the president designates, though I don't think Luntz said this explicitly.)
So whereas it was okay two months ago for reporters to use the term 'private accounts' they must now refer to them as 'personal accounts' because the president has now decided that that is the proper word.
Hopefully, Air America will post the exchange in question so that you can listen to or read it yourself and not have to rely on my (personal) account of it.
The New York Times seems to understand the new rules of the road. In the piece on the White House's emerging phase-out strategy, Edmund Andrews and Richard Stevenson are careful only to refer to them as "personal accounts."