Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 7, 2005

Changing Minds in London? (2)

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:36 pm

James Taranto points out another couple of examples:

The BBC Calls It by Its Name
“London Rocked by Terror Attacks” reads a headline on the BBC’s Web site. This seems unremarkable, except that, as the Mediacrity blog points out, the BBC’s “editorial guidelines,” in Reutervillian style, state:

The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term, without attribution. We should let other people characterise while we report the facts as we know them.

The Beeb does apply this rule sometimes, such as in this timeline of attacks against Israel, which nowhere refers by name to terror, terrorism or terrorists.

Even Reuters is leaving out the scare quotes in some dispatches: “Police said they suspected terrorists were behind the bombings,” the “news” service reports from London.

Note that Reuters annouced (reaffirmed?) on October 2, 2001 (note the significance of that date) that “the policy of our Editorial group to avoid using emotional terms such as “terrorist” in their news stories.” When forced to use the term, for example in quoting a public figure, they often put the word “terrorist” in scare quotes.

I guess that policy either just got cancelled, or only applied to terrorists who attack the U.S. or Israel.

One Response to “Changing Minds in London? (2)”

  1. Different River Says:

    Minds in London Changed Back
    Looks like I spoke too soon. I noted on July 7, the day of the terrorist attacks in London, that the BBC was actually calling the terrorist attacks “terrorism” and the perpetrators “terrorists.”

    It turns out this lasted barely a day. On July 8…

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