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


Monday, November 27, 2006

News outlets to start calling Iraq a civil war.

Since at least the beginning of this year, there's been a debate simmering over the use of the term 'civil war' to describe the situation in Iraq. Right-wingers angrily cried "liberal propaganda," and most news outlets acquiesced. 'Sectarian violence' has been popular, along with wishy-washy statements referring to the "threat" of civil war. For some, reactionary outrage has finally been outweighed by reality.

Here's what Matt Lauer announced on NBC's Today Show this morning: "As you know, for months now the White House has rejected claims that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated into civil war. And for the most part, news organizations, like NBC, have hesitated to characterize it as such. But, after careful consideration, NBC News has decided the change in terminology is warranted -- that the situation in Iraq, with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas, can now be characterized as civil war." (. . .)

NBC's First Read reports that the response was swift: "The White House is objecting this morning to descriptions of the Iraq conflict as a civil war. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, 'The violence is primarily centered around Baghdad and Baghdad security and the increased training of Iraqi Security Forces is at the top of the agenda when [Bush and Maliki] meet later this week.'"

A report on NPR this evening notes that others are making the same decision, including the LA Times and the 32 newspapers owned by the McClatchy Company (among them the Kansas City Star, Miami Herald, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram).