Saturday, 2 July 2016


There's a discussion going on in the comments at Biased BBC over a BBC News website article's use of the word "daring" to describe the Islamist terrorist attack on a cafe in Bangladesh. 

Should that word have been used? I very much think not.

The BBC calls the attacked district "a high-security area...considered among the safest places in the capital", so maybe that's why the BBC journalist (Anbarasan Ethirajan, the BBC's South Asia analyst) felt it was appropriate to use it. 

But "daring" is a word that carries strong positive connotations, inevitably bringing along with it the idea of 'courage'. 

And there's nothing 'courageous' about walking, as part of a fully-armed gang, into a cafe where ordinary, unarmed people are relaxing, eating and drinking with the intent of slaughtering them. 

And, as was said over at Biased BBCsuch BBC reporters don't seem to quite realise how poorly such terminology plays with the public.

Tellingly, the BBC's own Style Guide agrees. It says the following:

Do not use in the context of a crime or military action, as it suggests admiration. 


  1. Only certain parts of the BBC Style Guide are observed and enforced. The rest are there for BBC bosses to claim in response to complaints that they do have guidelines against it, it was a one-time slip from an otherwise stout yeoman journalist who has been told of the error and accepts it. Until next time.

    This particular violation happens regularly. I don't even need to do a search to know that there have been several occasions where the BBC referred to an act of mass murder (or attempted mass murder) as 'daring' or 'audacious'. So we know this is not one of those issues where the BBC makes an effort to guide staff, whereas they do send out directives on high about ISIS/Daesh, 'so-called' Islamic State, the word 'terrorism', and to translate the Arabic word for 'Jew' as 'Israeli'.

    Those are rules about which BBC bosses, care. This other one, not so much.

    They really don't care anymore. Most of them, anyway.

  2. Still up, so they have not evolved it away as yet.

    Maybe a wee return to the Complaints pages is in order?