September 15, 2004

The Words Used by the News Media

When is a terrorist not a terrorist? The following from James Dwinell (The Dwinell Political Report September 13, 2004) clearly describes how important language is when describing events, people, groups, etc.

The continuing reports from Beslan Russia spoke of the “militants” who had taken over an elementary school. Russian women were quoted, “The militants have our children.” Webster speaks of a militant as a “civil rights activist.” The New York Times wrote of “the band of militants.” Were they playing the trombone? Singing We Shall Overcome?

Scum of the earth would be too kind. They are extremist Islamic terrorists. Understanding that one man’s terrorist may be another man’s freedom fighter, they were not. Freedom fighters do not shoot, torture, terrorize, and shoot children in the back. They could be called renegades, traitors, butchers, baby-killers, molesters, mobsters, malevolent whack jobs, evil doers, crazed
butchers, Nazis, sadists, ghouls, and more. But certainly not a “band of militants.” There is nothing nice, inspiring, patriotic, or commendable about terror. Only fear. Using air brushed vocabulary is a road block to a solution. Calling evil by another name does not help.
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