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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Reuters Admits Appeasing Terrorists (HonestReporting)



As Islamic terror continues to spread worldwide, one major news outlet decided that enough is enough ― it's time to call terrorism by its name. CanWest, owners of Canada's largest newspaper chain, recently implemented a new editorial policy to use the 'T-word' in reports on brutal terrorist acts and groups.


So when CanWest's National Post published a Reuters report on Sept. 14, they exercised their right to change this Reuters line that whitewashes Palestinian terror:

... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. (Jeffrey Heller, 9/13 'Sharon Faces Netanyahu Challenge')

to this, more accurate line:

... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.

Reuters didn't like the adjustment, and took the unusual step of officially informing CanWest that if it intended to continue this practice, CanWest should remove Reuters' name from the byline. Why? The New York Times reported (emphasis added):

"Our editorial policy is that we don't use emotive words when labeling someone," said David A. Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor. "Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline."

Mr. Schlesinger said he was concerned that changes like those made at CanWest could lead to "confusion" about what Reuters is reporting and possibly endanger its reporters in volatile areas or situations.

"My goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity," he said.

[Schlesinger repeated this statement in a recent radio interview with CBC, when he described the 'serious consequences' if certain 'people in the Mideast' were to believe Reuters called such men 'terrorists.']

This is a stunning admission ― Reuters' top international editor openly acknowledges that one of the main reasons his agency refuses to call terrorists 'terrorists' has nothing to do with editorial pursuit of objectivity, but rather is a response to intimidation from thugs and their supporters.

In every other news arena, western journalists pride themselves on bravely 'telling it as is,' regardless of their subjects' (potentially hostile) reactions. So why do editors at Reuters ― and, presumably, other news outlets ― bend over backwards to appease Islamic terrorists, using 'safe' language that deliberately minimizes their inhuman acts?

Scott Anderson, editor-in-chief of CanWest Publications, said that Reuters' policy 'undermine[s] journalistic principles,' and raised the key question: 'If you're couching language to protect people, are you telling the truth?'