The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

FLASH: Fox News eager to lie if it furthers GOP aims!

Sometimes these posts seem a little redundant, but forewarned is forearmed-- and now you have some specifics. As little as it surprises me when I see stories like this, I'm still stunned by the mainstream media's unwillingness to drum these guys out of journalistic circles. Even worse, they're trying to emulate Fox to boost their own bottom lines. Hey guys-- imitating Soviet propagandists might be successful in the short term, but it'll cost you down the line when this nightmare is over. From the fine folks at Media Matters:

Since April 2002, FOX News has consistently doctored Associated Press articles featured on the FOX News website concerning terrorist attacks in the Middle East to conform to Bush administration terminology. Without any editorial notation disclosing that words in the AP articles have been changed, FOX News replaces the terms "suicide bomber" and "suicide bombing" with "homicide bomber" and "homicide bombing" to describe attackers who kill themselves and others with explosives. In at least one case, FOX News actually altered an AP quote from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to fit this naming convention, and then revised it to restore the quote without noting either the original alteration or its correction.

The Associated Press noted in April 2002 that FOX News first began using the term "homicide bombing" in its own reports immediately after Bush administration officials -- such as then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer -- adopted the term. While other news organizations continued to use the term "suicide bomber," the AP reported, "Dennis Murray, executive producer of [FOX News'] daytime programming, said executives there had heard the phrase ["homicide bombing"] being used by administration officials in recent days and thought it was a good idea."

But Media Matters for America has found that FOX has applied the "homicide" terminology not only in its own original reports, but also in the AP reports that it publishes on its website. Readers are led to believe that the AP itself uses the "homicide" terminology, when in fact it does not. According to a Media Matters search, the AP has used the terms "homicide bomber" or "homicide bombing" when referring to terrorist attacks in only one article, published on May 7, 2004. These terms have otherwise appeared in AP articles only in quotations.

Aside from the fact that 'suicide bomber' is a much more accurate term, I'm not sure what the point of this framing device is. Homicide probably made people angrier in focus groups. But doesn't everyone already know what a suicide bomber is? And wouldn't the fanaticism that term connotes already freak people out? I'm sure they payed some reactionary pr firm big bucks to find that 'homicide bomber' really presses people's buttons, but to me the term suicide bomber seems worse. Maybe Fox viewers feel better when the term doesn't connote religious fanaticism...