December 22, 2007

Homicide killers

Speaking of Fox News, I notice they are still referring to suicide bombers as homicide bombers. If I recall correctly, “homicide bomber” was coined several years ago by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who advised the gathered scribes it was preferable to “suicide bomber,” because the latter unjustly drew attention to the martyrdom of the killer or something.

“Homicide bomber” is absurd and redundant: A homicide bomber killed 48 people in Islamabad today. “A bomber killed people” already denotes homicide. “Suicide bomber” is concise and conveys more information. It's as simple as that. Somewhere in a Fox News report, the reader has to be told how the explosives were deployed. Why not in the lead, or the headline.

And why be coy about it. Would-be suicide bombers probably aren't watching Fox & Friends for inspiration anyway. If they were they'd more likely just commit suicide without taking anyone else with them. I can see Steve Doocy and the rest of that brain trust having just such an effect on people.

The only reason Fox News uses the term is in aquiescence to the Bush administration's preferences. It certainly has nothing to do with concise, direct reporting. It's toadying, plain and simple, and about the last person news editors should take direction from is a dissembling government flack.

If Fox News was consistent, it would start reporting gun murders by describing the assailant as a “homicide shooter.”

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