Sunday, December 09, 2007

Most Reporters Shun the Word 'Torture' in Regard to Destroyed CIA Tapes -- But Editorials Embrace It

Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher: As the protests surrounding revelations that the CIA had destroyed tapes that showed brutal interrogations by its agents, most new outlets refused to brand what the tapes likely showed as "torture."

One Associated Press article referred simply to "interrogation" on the tapes, at one point putting "enhanced interrogation" in quotes. Another AP article called it "harsh interrogation."

Mark Mazzeti in The New York Times used "severe interrogation methods." Eric Lichtblau in the same paper chose the same phrase. David Johnston, in a Saturday article for paper's Web site, referred to "aggressive interrogations" and "coercive techniques." Reuters, in its lead, relied on "severe interrogation techniques."

Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick in The Washington Post on Saturday opted for "harsh interrogation tactics." They mentioned one detainee having been "identified by intelligence officials as one of three detainees subjected to waterboarding," which they refer to not as torture but as "an aggressive interrogation technique that simulates drowning."

Their colleague, Josh White, on Sunday also used "harsh interrogation."James Oliphant at the Chicago Tribune's popular Washington, D.C. blog The Swamp called them "extreme methods to interrogate."

James Gordon Meek in New York's Daily New referred to "rough interrogations." McClatchy chooe "harsh interrogation tactics" but did get to torture allegations quickly.

Greg Miller in the Los Angeles Times notedthe CIA's reference to "harsh interrogation techniques" but at least in his lead he observesd that Democrats were indeed calling this "torture."

However, a Washington Post editorial on Saturday bluntly carried as a headline: "The Torture Tapes." And the Sunday editorial in The New York Times also did not turn away, as it was topped by: "In Arrogant Defense of Torture."

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