The reluctance of the American corporate media to call US torture “torture” has been exposed in a recent Harvard study. When “they” do it – Iraqis, Afghans, Colombians etc – it’s called torture. But when “we” do it, well, time to find another, less painful word.
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald will have none of it and rightly so:
In response to the Harvard study documenting how newspapers labeled waterboarding as “torture” for almost 100 years until the Bush administration told them not to, The New York Times issued a statementAndrew Sullivan, Greg Sargent and Adam Serwer all pointed out that “taking a side” is precisely what the justifying this behavior on the ground that it did not want to take sides in the debate. NYT did: by dutifully complying with the Bush script and ceasing to use the term (replacing it with cleansing euphemisms), it endorsed the demonstrably false proposition that waterboarding was something other than torture. Yesterday, the NYT’s own Brian Stelter examined this controversy and included a justifying quote from the paper’s Executive Editor, Bill Keller, that is one of the more demented and reprehensible statements I’ve seen from a high-level media executive in some time (h/t Jay Rosen):
“Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said the newspaper has written so much about the issue of water-boarding that “I think this Kennedy School study — by focusing on whether we have embraced the politically correct term of art in our news stories — is somewhat misleading and tendentious.””