It’s ages since I’ve read one of these op-ed pieces. So that’s why I’ve not been able to think of much to blog about of late.
A misguided obsession with objective reporting is undermining the BBC’s credibility as a news organisation
Is it just me or does that sentence make absolutely no sense whatsoever? Surely being obsessed with objective reporting is a good thing for a news organisation to be? I don’t know — some people think the BBC is too biased. Now some people think it’s too objective! Whatever next?! (Apologies to Backword Dave, from whom I basically stole the idea of taking the piss out of that strapline.)
Having read the article, I think it’s probably safe to assume that it’s just a mistake by a sub-editor or something. Which is quite ironic, considering it appears underneath the headline, “Stop castrating the language”.
The whole article is really confusing though. Cohen starts out by saying that the BBC’s cautious policy on the word ‘terrorist’ is “reasonable”. Immediately after that he goes on to criticise the BBC for, in his view, not using the word enough.
While we’re on the issue, I don’t really understand all these people who complain about the BBC’s policy on the word. Whilst nobody can ever quite seem to agree on what constitutes a terrorist and what doesn’t, the use of the word ‘bomber’ (not a problem for the BBC, as far as I know) is surely every bit as explicit as, and less ambiguous than, the use of the word ‘terrorist’?
Cohen goes on to say:
‘Bomber’, ‘attacker’ and ‘gunman’ allow no distinction between fighters who assault military targets and fighters who assault civilian targets.
Well, no. But I think it’s obvious that if it is reported that four bombs go off on public transport it’s pretty safe to assume that the targets weren’t military ones.
And it’s hardly as though you could confuse the word ‘insurgent’ with the phrase ‘armed wing of the Liberal Democrats’, is it? Oh wait a minute. It seems as though you could if you were Nick Cohen.