What’s up with the BBC?

The query of the current state of “up-ness” of the BBC is particularly relevant and worrisome given recent reports that the BBC—the Brits’ state-controlled ₤112 per television news outlet—has taken to downplaying the dirty word “terrorism” in reference to the London bombings. According to BBC guidelines, “the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding” and its use should be “avoided.”

Really? It was my impression when I arrived to work last Thursday and witnessed in horror as news of the acts in London unfolded that we were dealing with terrorism. As my daily treks to Union Station have yielded increased sightings of police officers with their German Shepherds and segways, it was also my impression that here in D.C., we are preparing for something more to come.

According to the UK Media Bulletin:
One headline on the BBC News website initially appeared as "Bus man may have see terrorist" and also used the word "terrorist" in the story. Later, however, this same story appeared on the site with the headline: "Passenger believes he saw bomber". There was also a new introduction omitting the word "terrorist".

So, there we see that the UK’s ₤2.5 billion publicly funded news behemoth has got it wrong. Yes, those evil individuals were bombers, but a terrorist by any other name is still a terrorist. Moreover, I did not consider the perpetrators of these terrible acts to be “misguided criminals” as BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson commented recently in an online editorial—I considered them terrorists.

I hate to evoke Bush-like references to 9-11 or stark black and white comparisons. While sitting in my high school German class, I witnessed the appalling news of the catastrophic damage to the Pentagon, the appalling loss of life in New York and the amazing displays of heroism across the country. I knew—like most Americans—that America had been attacked by terrorists. To skirt around that point is to give credence to individuals driven by radical ideology who seek to destroy life.

BBC—you’re dealing with terrorists.

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