Clifford D. May:
To The Washington Post they were simply “gunmen.” The New York Times non-judgmentally called them “armed men.”
The elite media fastidiously avoid such harsh words as "terrorist" – even to describe those who, last week, rounded up five Iraqi teachers from outside their school, dragged them into a classroom, lined them up against a wall and shot them to death.
The Post was quick to inform readers that “no children were hurt in the attack.” Are we to regard that as restraint on the part of these “gunmen”?
The Times noted that “the killings appeared to have been motivated more by sectarian hatred than any animosity toward the [teaching] profession.” Is that meant to be reassuring?
In a bygone era, reporters would have let readers know in no uncertain terms how thoroughly they despise and condemn those who massacre teachers in a schoolroom. Nor would they have minced words in regard to those who blow up civilians or ritually decapitate “infidels.”
But today, most big-league journalists see it differently. The Reuters news agency loftily insists that “one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.”
Other media moguls will tell you that it is their professional obligation to remain disinterested regarding this war and those fighting it. At key moments, however, that neutrality seems to wear thin – in a perverse way.
For example, the Post ran the story of the slaughter of the Iraqi teachers not on the front page but on page 19. On page 1 was what the editors evidently judged a more consequential story: It was about Iraqis “scorning” Americans.
This isn't neutrality. It's moral vacuity.