The BBC, which has long avoided using the term “terrorism” even when referring to blatantly terrorist acts, suddenly discovered terrorism last Thursday after the bombings in downtown London. But this doesn’t mark a change in their editorial policy. Nor, it would seem, do they consider it a mea-culpa worthy error committed in heat of the moment. No, instead they are just quietly re-writing their archives, erasing “terror” and it’s derivatives, and replacing them with more benign terms.


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  1. what is wrong with that? Perhaps they don’t want to use the readily used catch phrases that are being overly used and are being a bit more careful. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    1. Terrorist(ism) is now an Un-Word. Doubleplusungood to use it.

    2. Things should be called what they are. It is not the role of the news press to shape what people think about events by using slippery words; it is their duty to report factually and accurately using a (hopefully keen) command of the language. I rather doubt the British press refrained from calling terrorism what it was back when they were still being bombed by the IRA, and rightly so. There is simply no other word more appropriate for the act.

      And you don’t see anything wrong with going back through the archives, quietly changing the wording? The press, after all, is where we get much of our history – changing newspaper archives is tantamount to rewriting history. I realize that news agencies correct minor mistakes all the time, but this isn’t a typo or a factual error. They’re trying to make it look, to the outside world at least, as if they never used those words. Which even if you agree with their motives, seems a little devious to me.

      1. well okay in the sense of going back and changing things. I am not too hot on that. But I guess I am tired of being oversaturated with the word terrorist.

        1. See my reply below. I too am tired of hearing it applied to pot smokers, computer pirates, and dissenters. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be applied to those who have legitimately earned the title, though.

          1. I suppose I agree with you on this. The reason I was enjoying seeing them not using the word is because I am sick of seeing the damn word.

          2. …and the mispronunciation of it!

    3. By the way… I agree that the word has been overused of late – but I heartliy disagree that when word has been mis-used in some quarters, it can be balanced out by refraining from applying it where it is fully applicable. That’s compounding the problem, not lessening it. I don’t believe in surrendering words without a fight. I’d rather not live in a world where I’m a “terrorist” for watching DVDs on a device that hasn’t been approved by the entertainment industry, but where mass-murdering thugs are merely “misunderstood”.

      1. If you knew the way that I felt about murderers you would know that I don’t think that they are misunderstood.

        Actually my opinion on it is rather brutal.
        If you kill someone prepare to die in a way that is worse then how you killed someone else.

        I agree with what you are saying here, but, I am sick and tired of hearing the word terrorist. Yes, perhaps it should be used when it is apropriate, and I agree that perhaps they are overly correcting. But it is the media in AMERICA that caused this type of reaction. With catch phrases against “war on terrorism” I think that perhaps they don’t want to come off as we did by overusing that term. Actually in my opinion “murderers” sounds a bit more brutal. I wish that in this country our media had a bit of an adversion for loosely throwing around the word like that.

        1. In case I was unclear, I did not in ANY way mean to imply that you feel that murderers are “misunderstood”. I was using that as an exaggerated example of trends I see in some segments of society. Id did not reflect my perception of you at all.

          And I stand with you in thinking think it’s a shame that the word “terrorist” has been cheapened to the point that it doesn’t pack the punch of “murderer”.

      2. It seems everybody is a “freakin’ terrerist” these days. The truth is, the term does seem to give the groups trying to earn the title, terrorist, more credit than they deserve. The perpetrators of senseless acts of brutality deserve the treatment we give to any lowly killer. National policies are rarely enacted to deal with a killer. We have ways of dealing murderers that don’t give them so much credibility. The use of the term referring to fear, has spawned more fear than it should. Too many sheep are led down the path to submission by politicians using it, and all that does is let terrorists have more edge. Politicians win by controlling the state with fear. True terrorists win by changing behaviour. It is all so disgusting. I think the BBC may be acting to take away a little of that power.

        1. I see where you are coming from, but I still disagree with the BBC’s choice. While I don’t think terrorists should be afforded any more respect than common street thugs, I think there is value in making the distinction. “Terrorist” should really imply something even more negative than “murderer”. People commit murder for a lot of reasons – some of them at least partly understandable. Crimes of passion or desperation, for instance. Terrorists kill innocents who have done nothing other than happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That should have at least the same stigma as that attached to serial killers.

          In fact, come to think of it, I would be perfectly content if, instead of using the word terrorist, the BBC used the term “serial mass-murderer” whenever it referred to the perpetrators of terrorist acts. That would be quite satisfactory.

          1. I’m with you on this.

          2. yeah…

            I’m not really that keen on the word terrorist, itself, since the definition of it has always been so arbitrary.. i.e. I don’t think the word’s descriptive power as a term really has enough weight in comparison to the kind of emotional power that it conveighs.. thus.. it lends itself too well to group’s terrorists are another group’s freedom fighters.. (i.e. thinking about the conflict in Chechnya.. where russian troops go and flatten the capital with indiscriminate bombing–killing 100,000’s of innocents–but don’t get called terrorists.. but then when the chechnyan’s counter-attack and take over a Russian school and then kill innocent Russian children–they are terrorists… )

            In any case.. I also like serial mass-murderers.. and that could be applied to both non-governmental and governmental groups…

            ps–I think going back and correcting their archives is despicable, however. It is white-washing history.. it would be better for future generations to be able to go back and see how even a brief incident generated that kind of term usage–even if in later articles they went back to other terms..

        2. you stated this way better that I ever could.

  2. Yes, instead of the word “terror” I suggest they use the word “annoyance”, or “rudeness”.

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