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9/23/2004 01:16:00 AM | Justin

Medical workers, terrorists, Same Difference to Right-wing media chains (NYT link)

A neocon friend just sent me this as an example of everything that's wrong with Reuters... except I mistaked it for an example of everything that's right with Reuters. As a policy, Reuters avoids "emotive" words? Sounds like a whitewash on the surface, but then again, maybe it's better to let the actions describe, rather than letting labels describe. "A terrorist attack bombed a night club", "A militant bombed a nightclub". Is there a significant different between these two statements that Neo-Cons have reason to get so huffy about? I'd argue that blanket labelling all such actions "terrorist" distracts the reader from the degradations of evil among the actions. For instance, the word "terrorist" pulls a reader away from the significant difference between an attack on a nightclub or schoolbus, and an attack on a settlement or military checkpoint.

I know that if I were a Reuters journalist in Iraq, I'd be upset if I found out some office bozo in Canada was find & replacing all of my reference to "militants" with references to "terrorists", and still attributing the work to me.

Here's the most egregious example:
The policy has caused Mr. Anderson's paper to issue two
corrections recently as the result of changes it made to articles provided by
The Associated Press. On Thursday, The Citizen changed an A.P. dispatch to
describe 6 of 10 Palestinians killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops as
"terrorists," a description attributed to "Palestinian medical officials." The
Associated Press had called those people "fugitives."
The Citizen published a
correction on Friday declaring it to be it an editing error and describing the
six dead as "militants." A week earlier, the newspaper inserted the word
terrorist seven times into an A.P. article about the fighting between Iraqis and
United States forces in the city of Falluja. Mr. Anderson called the two
episodes "silly errors."



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