Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Civil War

The dispute over whether or not the LA Times, NYTimes and NBC News should be referring to the conflict in Iraq as civil war in the face of White House denials that it is not has much resonance here in BiH.

Foreign correspondents described the convoluted conflicts and multi-faceted disputes here as a civil war to simplify to try to get Americans to read about it. Bosnians of all ethnicity believe that description is highly inaccurate.

It's kind of refreshing to see the media standing up to the White House and saying they will use the accurate term and not some euphemism to disguise the truth for politicians.

But Roy Peter Clark, journalism and writing guru, has written an essay arguing against use of the word, not in order to please the government, but for the sake of accuracy. Here's his point:

"Journalists should avoid the widespread and unreflective use of the term "civil war." To use it is to play into the hands of those who would de-certify the press by framing us as against our government and American interests abroad. More important, "civil war" is too vague an abstraction to describe all that is happening on the ground in Iraq. The violence comes from Americans, from civilians, from militia, from various Muslim sects (against foreigners and each other), from mercenaries, from criminal gangs, from foreign jihadists. It is less the job of the foreign correspondent to summarize information in abstract language than to report in concrete and specific terms on what is happening."

No comments:

Blog Archive