Posting opinions, letters and correspondence from far and wide. Even some to/from my elected representatives.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Associated Press and Language Hijinx Designed to Confuse You

Violent criminal activity intended to cause political change is the basic definition of terrorism. Therefore, we have to approach the problem with both law enforcement action and military action – wherever it’s needed. One problem as I see it is that law enforcement and the military have both been hamstrung by political correctness in many areas.

Take the example of politically correct (well incorrect actually) double-think language that intentionally or unintentionally hides the true nature of our terrorist enemies.

Look at the attempted bombing of two German trains two weeks ago (August 2006). Which by the way, did not get very much media coverage.

The men who were the ONLY suspects were Young Middle Eastern Men but you certainly would not know that from the way Associated Press reported it.

When I read the three articles on Foxnews (sourced from AP) I was struck by just how much avoiding of the - damn well obvious - is going on. Or is this language contorted gymnastics being done intentionally?

The first report came out declaring that there only MIGHT be a terrorist link to bombs being planted.,2933,209238,00.html

The investigators found a ripped up piece of paper with phone numbers and Arabic script on it. Yet they couldn’t bring themselves to say it was “terrorist” related. Regardless of the Arabic script, it was a bomb on a train - right? Taking terrorism by definition, I don’t see how anyone could put a bomb on a train and it would NOT be an act of terrorism. Interesting that there was Arabic script in the bag though.

Here’s another little gem from the article:

“Investigators released a video showing two suspects, both men, coming up an escalator with heavy wheeled luggage in Cologne station, which both trains passed through. They were believed to be between 20 and 30 years old.”

Meanwhile somewhere in the bowels of the Associated Press editor’s office I can see the hand wringing going on:

Well you can mention that they appear to be young, and you can mention that they appear to be men but DON'T WHATEVER YOU DO mention that they appear to be of Middle Eastern descent.

Then there was this follow up article when the police caught up with one of the YMEM (young middle-eastern man).,2933,209238,00.html

And look at this amazing snippet:

“Chief prosecutor Monika Harms said he [the YMEM] apparently had planned to flee the country, but she did not say where he wanted to go.”

Meanwhile somewhere in the bowels of the Associated Press editor’s office I can see even more hand wringing going on:

Well you can mention that he intended to flee the country but whatever you do, don’t ask the prosecutor which country he actually intended to flee to if it is a MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRY!

And then there’s this right below:

“Prosecutors said the suspect was identified with the help of the surveillance footage, from Cologne station, and DNA traces from one of the suitcases in which the bombs were found.”

Notice how AP has written this line in a manner that attempts to give credit to DNA evidence for busting the creep. But in fact, DNA evidence can only be used to confirm the identity of the creep AFTER the police have busted the creep using identity information gleaned from the camera surveillance footage. That is, young, middle-eastern and male - gotcha! Or, put another way, I would be willing to bet that unless this creep was already in the German police DNA criminal database, there is no possible way that the DNA had anything to do with them capturing this creep. It is all about the pictures - mate!

Well you can mention that they identified the suspects from camera surveillance footage but no one can say they are being singled out for attention if you follow up with a note about the DNA evidence because we all have DNA – right?

And how about this piece of brilliant AP translation from German to English:

“Joerg Ziercke, the head of Germany's Federal Crime Office, told reporters in Kiel he was confident that "we caught the right suspected bomb planter here in Kiel today."

Now here’s my question, do German prosecutors call terrorists “suspected bomb planters”? Or do AP reporters translate terrorist into “suspected bomb planters”. Well, granted there are often concerns regarding calling suspect’s names for fear that the prosecution of the crime could be jeopardized by name calling. But surely there is no fundamental difference between a suspected terrorist and a “suspected bomb planter”. Right? Oh by the way, terrorist in German is spelled “TERRORIST”.

Finally, in the third report, Chancellor Merkel's Office finally gets a word in. And yes, the conservatives call it what it is - terrorism. Read here for yourself.,2933,209453,00.html

So what does all of this mean? Basically, what I’m trying to get across is that if somebody plants a bomb on a train there is a very high likelihood that it was put there by a terrorist. And, though it’s politiclly incorrect to have to say it, most of the terrorists in the world right now happen to be Young Middle-Eastern Men and we should stop pretending otherwise. All this playing around with semantics only leads to a dumbed down understanding of the threat we face. Furthermore, press services such as Associated Press ought to be using the English language the way it should be used. And that is, call a “suspect spade” a “suspect spade” and not a “suspected hole digging implement”.

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