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NY Times, BBC Decisions Show Abject Moral Failing

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(Photo: Pixabay)
(Photo: Pixabay)

Recent decisions by The New York Times and the BBC point to abject moral failings by these media giants.

In the wake of a number of blatantly anti-Semitic cartoons “making it past” the editor of its international edition, the Times decided to stop printing political cartoons in its international edition altogether.

The BBC, for its part, has decided to have its reporters stop using the word “terror” as they are afraid of being labeled “biased.”

Where are these decisions coming from? There are two basic reasons that prompted these moves. Both speak to the moral bankruptcy of modern society:

The first is cowardice. Rather than make a moral decision as to what is fair game to be criticized or supported in the political or social realm, the Times opted for the easy way out: shutting down the conservation altogether.

It’s an alarming trend we are seeing in many realms, but one which has been shrewdly foisted upon us by political groups (and their media enablers) to unfairly stigmatize and shut down their opponents.

Think, for example, when Islamists use this tactic to call out their detractors as “Islamophobes.” So effective has this tactic become that the media is now self-censoring – shutting down its own conversation.

But worse than cowardice is the message that such moves by the media send out – namely, that there is no right and wrong.

In the words of a senior news source at the BBC, “It boils down to that phrase, ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.‘”

Without shame, the BBC issued the following guidelines for its journalists:

  • There is no agreed upon consensus of what constitutes a terrorist or terrorist act. The use of the word will frequently involve a value judgement
  • … We should consider how our use of language will affect our reputation for objective journalism
  • In a digital age, it is no longer possible to assume an easy split between domestic and overseas audiences

Yet, contrary to the BBC’s assertion that “There is no agreed upon consensus of what constitutes a terrorist or terrorist act,” there actually  is – one that is found in the UK and agreed upon worldwide by those who do not hide behind a smokescreen by cowardly equivocating on the definition of terrorism.

The UK’s own The New Oxford Dictionary of English, states: A “terrorist” is someone who uses “violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

Clear and simple.

In truth, this “new” policy of the BBC is not new at all. In the aftermath of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, where Islamist terrorists gunned down 12 members of the staff of the satirical magazine for publishing political cartoons about the Islamic prophet Mohammed, the head of the BBC Arabic Service refused to use the word “terrorist” to describe the murderers.

“We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist, or an act as being terrorist,” Tarik Kalafa said at the time. “Terrorism is such a loaded word. The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can’t. It is very difficult to.”

Kalfa then hit on the real reason he refused to use the word – the same reason the BBC has totally banned it today: He called it too “value-laden.”

Meaning, it has become politically incorrect to call a politically-motivated mass murder of journalists (note the irony) by members of a radical Islamist terror group as an act of terror.

The BBC’s stated purpose for their new guidelines is so that they will be viewed as being impartial. We can assume The New York Times’ decision was made for the same reasons.

Yet, what makes journalism objective is adherence to and a fair-representation of the facts. Mainstream media has lost the faith of the public because it hasn’t been true to these standards for quite a while.

Far from being “value-laden,” adhering to the definition of “terrorism,” and reporting terrorists acts for what they are, is what will give credibility to the media, which is now correctly perceived as an immoral machine driven by and pandering to the far-Left reaches of society.

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org