Media Still Persist on Mislabeling Terrorism

The major media outlets are really stubborn. In the past two days, freedom fighters set off two chlorine bombs in Iraq, killing at least eight and wounding many, bringing the total bombings involving chlorine gas to three over the past month. At what point will the mainstream online media call this terrorism or say that terrorists are responsible? In their quest to remain “objective” and "impartial” and not favor the viewpoint or side of the US, the media seem to bend over backwards to avoid appearing biased. Even though crude chemical weapons are the latest addition to the techniques employed to terrorize Iraqis and to the coalition forces and demoralize America, the major online media still refuse to call this “terrorism” or the bombers "terrorists.” Reuters leads the pack with their “neutrality” by calling those behind the bombings the familiar “insurgents” and “militants” and their ability to avoid describing the horrific effects of chlorine gas on humans or what these bombings foreshadow, with CNN.com in a close second.

The language used to describe the attacks varies. The Chicago Tribune called it a chemical "dirty bomb" and labeled it throughout the article as a dirty bomb. CNN.com didn’t call it anything at all, just vaguely referring to it as “a cloud of toxic gas" or "a bomb on board the tanker.” However, in direct contrast to the bland wording in the articles, someone at CNN wrote a headline for the article that called it a “poison gas attack.” I’m sure that headline writer is on his way to a re-education camp right now, otherwise known as “Intro To Journalism.” The harshest descriptions Reuters used in today’s articles to describe the use of deadly chlorine gas was the very neutral-sounding “bomb using chlorine” and the really harsh "makeshift chemical bombs" and "crude chemical bombs." I have to hand it to Reuters and CNN.com for their ability to stay detatched and to avoid that inflammatory rhetoric like "dirty bomb," "poison gas," "terrorism" or "terrorist."

Reuters and CNN are surprisingly light on information. In most of the articles, Reuters doesn’t even give details about Wednesday’s bombing. CNN.com briefly reported about the chlorine gas bombings but tops Reuters for the least amount of information given and uses the first attack as an opportunity to link to the video “Watch how study says Iraq war has increased terrorism,” which is their only mention of terrorism. I guess when the US is somehow "responsible" for attacks, CNN will call it terrorism. In CNN.com's international edition, there was a little more coverage, which included the US discovering canisters of chlorine gas in a “home-grown factory for car bombs,” but in the same article, much more was written about the Iraqi soldiers accused of rape. I think I know what CNN’s priorities are.

What do people have to do to be called a terrorist and their actions terrorism? Maybe it would help the media if they added the word "domestic." It seemed to work in the stories involving Eric Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh.