Saturday 15 June 2019

Vans and lorries

As Sue noted on Wednesday, it looks as if we'll be seeing and hearing even more about "van attacks" and "lorry attackers" from the BBC in the wake of their latest editorial guidelines (to be published later this month).

The Daily Mail says that BBC reporters will be told to avoid using the word "terror" to describe any terror attack, "unless they are quoting someone else".

The paper goes on, "Instead, they will refer to terror attacks by naming specific details, such as the location and the method of slaughter used":
The controversial edict means that the BBC will no longer use the phrase 'terror attack' to describe the massacres at London Bridge or Manchester Arena, as the corporation did when the atrocities occurred. 
Reporters would describe them as the London Bridge van attack or the Manchester Arena bomb attack instead. 
Now, of course, this is nothing new. It's merely a ratcheting-up of something the BBC has been doing already with increasing frequency. 

What is particularly striking here though is the bizarre thinking behind it:
According to well-placed BBC sources, bosses are eager to report terror attacks consistently, regardless of the terrorists' political ideology. But instead of branding them all as terror attacks and risk accusations of bias, it wants to avoid the word altogether. 
A senior news source said: 'It boils down to that phrase, 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'.  
'Our question is, 'Is Darren Osborne [who was behind the Finsbury Park terror attack] a terrorist?' He is being motivated by far-Right thinking, in the same way as the guys in the attack on London Bridge. Consistency will be the key.'
It will be interesting to see the exact wording when the new editorial guidelines are published.


  1. Newspeak - autocorrector or is it?

  2. It seems pretty clear that if the aim of a violent attack is to create terror to effect changes in governmental policy or make people change their culture then it is a terrorist attack. It is clear beyond clear that both the attacks referenced were terrorist attacks - one far more serious than the other, though - despite BBC attempts to suggest otherwise.

  3. As I understand it they have already got some sort of ruling or prohibition around the words 'terrorism' and 'terrorist'.

    Perhaps that is why they have taken to using 'terror attack' rather than 'terrorist attack' but now they are proposing to put a fence around 'terror' as well.

  4. "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter"

    Ah, I see, the BBC is REALLY concerned about objective reporting! I hadn't noticed - perhaps they should practise on the little things, like Brexit or the Tory leadership campaign, before they move on to the 'controversial' stuff, like the slaughter of defenceless little girls at a pop concert in Manchester. How will they describe that, by the way? Was it a 'singer attack'? or a 'music attack'?

    Perhaps the DG would care to meet the families of the victims and explain to them why it was not a terrorist attack.

    1. Sorry, just re-read Craig's post and find that the BBC would describe it as, 'the Manchester Arena bomb attack.'

  5. The policy is working:

    ... 'Islington stabbing: Man charged over pushchair mum attack'...

    To be clear, the pushchair wasn't the weapon in this case - the victim was a 'pushchair mum'.

    1. I'm offended by that language - shouldn't they be using the word 'buggy'?


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