Thursday, November 16, 2006

BBC at it Again

By now everyone is aware that the BBC has banned itself from using the word "terrorist", preferring instead to use descriptive words like "gunman" or "militant". However, event that seems too harsh for them.

Today, Israel opened fire and killed a terrorist in the West Bank. The headline from the BBC reads, "Israelis kill W Bank 'militant' ". Yes those quotation marks again. Let's analyse their use in this context.

The use of the quotation marks is to indicate that the story or phrase is not an objective description but rather one person's point of view. In this case, the source for the story was an Israeli army spokeswoman. She no doubt told the BBC that Israel had killed a terrorist; and the BBC changed that to militant.

If the BBC is unsure about the veracity of the story, shouldn't the whole headline be in quotes? And if they are sure but do not want to make any objective statements, shouldn't they quote the word the spokeswoman actually said?

PS: Someone please take a screenshot of the headline before it changes.