Thursday, August 14, 2003

Small world: Or so it seems whenever a "national" news type makes their way into out little local media world. So it was this morning when I got to hear James Taranto, of the WSJ's Opinion Journal, on local station WBT's Keith Larson show. I was suddenly worried that I hadn't shaved this morning. What if he calls on me? Oh, wait, it's radio.

Anyway, they were talking about Taranto's criticism of Fox News Channels's use of the term "homicide bombings" in lieu of "suicide bombings," particularly in regard to Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets. Fox has a point, that their term puts the emphasis on the victims, rather than the terrorist, and serves as a rebuke. It's possible to get a little mushy when it's called a suicide, because we focus on the desparation of the attacker and what could lead them to such action. Of course it doesn't matter, they're still terrorists and criminals and, after all, committing a homicide, ususally multiple.

The problem is, as Taranto pointed out, it's heavy handed and distracting. "Suicide bombing" conveys not only the desparation of the attacker, but also the danger they present. A suicidal person, armed with a bomb or a plane, is more dangerous than a murderer of another nature, because they function as a "smart bomb," capable of going off at the best (worst) time possible.

Taranto made a lot of sense, but unfortunately they went to commercial and I had to get out of the car. Fox serves a worthwhile purpose as a right wing voice on network tv, and I watched it exclusively a few years ago. Now they've become a caricature and are utterly unwatchable. They try so hard to look and sound different that they wind up sounding shrill and tacky. It's too bad.

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