Monday, October 04, 2004

Reuters Admits Intimidation

Reuters finally admits, officially, that its editorial policy to never use the word "terrorist" is out of fear of the terrorists.

And someone is finally taking a stand: a Canadian newspaper has adopted a policy of editing the Reuters wire stories to replace the euphemisms with the proper words.

Never forget, Reuters is engaging in disseminating enemy propaganda.

CanWest Global Communications, publisher of 13 daily newspapers in Canada including the National Post, will continue to use the word “terrorist” in Reuters dispatches, to describe those who commit terrorist attacks.

But the chain will probably bow to Reuters’ request that reporters’ names be dropped from articles in which those changes are made, says Scott Anderson, editor in chief of CanWest Global.

Anderson said the policy to substitute “terrorist” and “terrorism” for Reuters’ softer words will continue.

And he said he’s unmoved by one reason Reuters gave for its opposition to CanWest’s policy: That using the word terrorist could endanger a reporter covering a volatile area.

“My response is, that’s the price we pay as journalists,” Anderson said.

“Our editorial policy is that we don’t use emotive words when labelling someone,” David A. Schlesinger, Reuters’ global managing editor, told the New York Times on Sept. 20. “Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline.”

As a policy, Reuters said it avoids words like “terrorist” and “terrorism,” preferring “the absence of emotion… so that events may be judged dispassionately.”

Schlesinger said he was concerned that changes like those made at CanWest could lead to “confusion” about what Reuters is reporting and possibly endanger its reporters or threaten their association with sources.

Anderson responded by asking if a reporter is “couching language to protect people, are you telling the truth?”

Paul Michaels of the Canada-Israel Committee, who monitors anti-Israel bias in the media for the lobby group, praised CanWest for sticking to its policy.

“Journalists shouldn’t sidestep calling a spade a spade. When they do, they’re doing a disservice to their craft.”

Michaels called Reuters’ policy “craven” and “wrong.”

A Sept. 18 National Post editorial seemed to deepen the rift between CanWest and Reuters. The paper said the wire agency’s “use of euphemisms” such as “militant,” “insurgent” and “extremist” to describe figures in the Middle East and Iraq “merely serves to apply a misleading gloss of political correctness.”

The media monitoring group Honest Reporting also got into the act last week.

“Reuters’ top international editor openly acknowledges that one of the main reasons his agency refuses to call terrorists ‘terrorists’ has nothing to do with editorial pursuit of objectivity, but rather is a response to intimidation from thugs and their supporters,” the group stated on its website.

“In every other news arena, western journalists pride themselves on bravely ‘telling it as is,’ regardless of their subjects’ [potentially hostile] reactions. So why do editors at Reuters – and, presumably, other news outlets – bend over backwards to appease Islamic terrorists, using ‘safe’ language that deliberately minimizes their inhuman acts?”
Yeah, good question!


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