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7.12.2005

abu gingy's socratic dialogue with a BBC exec

BBC edits out the word terrorist
By Tom Leonard
(Filed: 12/07/2005)

The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists", it was disclosed yesterday.

Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC's website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as "bombers".

The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".

Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say.

Full story

Disgraceful. Using a hypothetical Socratic dialogue with a BBC policymaker, I will now show you why this sort of postmodern sophistry is dishonest:

Abu Gingy: What is a chef?
BBC: Easy. A chef is a person who works in a restaurant kitchen for his living.
Abu Gingy: Great. What is a banker?
BBC: Well, a banker underwrites loans for a living.
Abu Gingy: So what do they have in common?
BBC: They both work to earn a living.
Abu Gingy: So if we were to call them the chef and the banker, respectively, we would be reffering to what they do. Right?
BBC: Spot on.
Abu Gingy: And if we wanted to categorize them more generally based on their purpose of their actions, what would we call them?
BBC: I reckon we'd call them workers.
Abu Gingy: So reffering to our friends as workers is just as legitimate as reffering to them as the chef and the banker, is it not?
BBC: I suppose so.
Abu Gingy: Very well. How can you apply this to your editorial policy?
BBC: Hmm...well, some people don't consider earning a living as the end of their actions. Instead, the end of their actions is to instill terror in people.
Abu Gingy: Carry on.
BBC: Whether somebody tries to foster a massive state of terror as a bomber, sniper, or kamikaze pilot, he is nonetheless a terrorist.
Abu Gingy: *slow clap*