Wednesday, March 30, 2005

  Words With No Meaning

Look, folks. FOX news continued use of the pseudo-term "homicide bomber" is just silly. It basically shows that their desire to appear politically proactive is far greater than their desire to be accurate, let alone "fair and balanced".

Without going into the politics of the matter, a little over three years ago Donald Rumsfeld announced that he "felt" the term "suicide bomber" gave to much "credibility" (his words) to terrorists who employed suicide tactics. For that reason, he announced this administration would henceforth use the term "homicide bomber". Ok, I'm all about discrediting terrorists. I'm also somewhat open to the idea of making political statements against groups who support or carry out terrorist activity. But I have to draw the line at Orwellian Doublespeak in daily briefings to the press. In a word, that would be ungood.

Worse still, the one news organization that claims to stand on the single pillar of objectivity, chose to adopt this verbal non-entity and to this day uses it in its daily broadcasts. Rumsfeld is a politician. I'll give him a pass on making silly statements. I'm used to that. But FOX is a news and information service. Why does this bother me? Because "homicide bomber" is at best redundant and at worst devoid of any informative context.

If a bomber is taken to mean "one who bombs" or more accurately "one who employs an explosive device in an effort to destroy or kill" then "homicide bomber" is embarrassingly redundant. It is the equivalent of calling Jack The Ripper a "homicide stabber". By that definition, Timothy McVeigh is a "homicide bomber". He did bomb a building in Oklahoma. He did commit homicide. Show me any contradiction there, I dare you.

Folks, the "suicide" in "suicide bomber" is to set aside those who blow themselves up in the process of blowing up others from those who merely blow things up. It is important that, when a bomber kills our soldiers in Iraq, that I know whether the bomber took his own life in the process or - as is often the case - the bomber detonated an I.E.D. from a safe distance and escaped possibly to kill again. Using the meaningless term homicide bomber actually deprives me of critical contextual information I need form opinions about events around the globe.

So, I would ask that in the interest of objective and accurate reporting that the FOX news network stop its use of the imaginary term "homicide bomber" and employ words found in Webster instead. That would only be the fair and balanced thing to do.

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