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."
Saturday, December 8, 2007
News Outlets Refuse to Say: "Torture"
is author of a dozen books (click on covers at right), including the new "THE TUNNELS: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill." He was the longtime editor of Editor & Publisher. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @GregMitch