It depends more on the font you use. The X fonts made the backtick more vertical than it should be. The apostrophe (single quote) was also slightly angled. This led to the backtick and apostrophe being used as way of faking smart quotes.
With newer fonts, the backtick is more angled and easier to distinguish. Try switching the font on your editor or terminal window to something else. Any of the scalable (TrueType) fonts would do it.
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