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Saturday, December 8, 2007

News Outlets Refuse to Say: "Torture"

As the protests surrounding revelations that the CIA destroyed tapes that showed brutal interrogations by its agents, most news outlets refused to brand what the tapes likely showed as "torture." It may walk like a duck and talk like a duck but in this case -- it's not a duck.

An Associated Press article by Pamela Hess repeatedly refers simply to"interrogation" on the tapes, at one point putting "enhanced interrogation" in quotes. Mark Mazzeti in The New York Times uses "severe interrogation methods." Eric Lichtblau in the same paper uses the same phrase. So does Reuters in its lead. ABC News' web site has a lengthy piece that simply refers to "interrogations" for several paragraphs before mentioning that "critics" claim torture. If you can manage to find the story at the Fox News site -- good luck -- you will see that they use "harsh methods."

McClatchy chooses "harsh interrogation tactics." Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick in The Washington Post rely on the same phrase. They refer to one detainee having been "identified by intelligence officials as one of three detainees subjected to waterboarding," which they refer to not as torture but as "an aggressive interrogation technique that simulates drowning." The Wall Street Journal also mentioned waterboarding but does not call it torture. James Oliphant at the Chicago Tribune's popular Washington, D.C. blog The Swamp merely refers to "extreme methods to interrogate."

James Gordon Meek in New York's Daily New refers to "rough interrogations." Greg Miller in the Los Angeles Times notes the CIA's reference to "harsh interrogation techniques" but at least in his lead he observes that Democrats were indeed calling this "torture." And rare props to The Washington Post editorial page for heading its blast today: "The Torture Tapes."


Anonymous said...

The problem is that the word "torture" has never been defined. Everybody has their own definition which makes a meaningful debate or discussion impossible. What is torture to you may not be torture to me and vice-a-versa. Even when attempts have been made to define torture, the terms are often open to dispute with many gray areas.

angryrat said...

Oh, the definition of torture is very well defined. Just get a freaking dictionary.
This whole "debate" is artificial. If it looks like it's being debated, then it's not torture. Orwell would have a field day.
(I wonder if that was going on in the Third Reich... Debating about the "solution" of the "Jewish and other untermensh question" instead of saying: mass murder in a grand scale.

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