Tuesday, April 27, 2004

American Terrorists

During my lunch today, I heard FOX News talking about terrorists near Fallujah using rocket propelled grenades, and I wondered if they were really terrorists. Why? Well, seems like some at the FNC are in the habit of referring to everyone fighting against the coalition forces in Iraq as terrorists. Now, certainly, in what amounts to a self-fulfilling prophecy, many terrorists may have flooded into Iraq to fight against the United States. But FOX News seemed to draw no distinction between insurgents (as most of the reputable news services are referring to Iraqi nationals still fighting against the coalition forces) and terrorists. They're not the same thing. They might be fighters or insurgents or guerillas or militiamen or rebels or gunmen or even bad guys, if you like, but they're not terrorists. Nonetheless, Fox News seems happy to blur reality. (On NPR the other day, I also heard a young soldier in Iraq saying he wanted to go out and fight "terrorists." So, the military has its troops well coached into believing they're fighting the War on Terror in Iraq, too.)

Additionally, that's why whenever FOX News goes to a story on Iraq, they super a "War on Terrorism" graphic over their anchor's shoulder while other news orgs are more likely to use "War in Iraq" or something similar. FOX News may as well be under the direct employ of the Bush administration.

Definitions of words like "terrorism" and "terrorist" are controversial for political reasons. Chomsky is famously fond of pointing out that the United States is always careful to define "terrorism" in its favor. (I'm sure many countries do.) For what it's worth, here's one definition of a terrorist from Princeton University's WordNet: "a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; usually organizes with other terrorists in small cells; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities."

By that definition isn't the white supremicist, Matthew Hale, a terrorist? I'd say so. He's said he wants to start a "racial holy war." Tried to have a federal judge killed. Sounds like a terrorist to me. And I think Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh were terrorists, too. American terrorists. Radical Christian terrorists, you might say.

But I doubt you'll hear FOX News refer to any of them as terrorists any time soon.

1 comment:

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