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Saturday, October 18, 2008

NPR Forgets Definitions Again

This happens too often when the term in question is terrorism. The error committed by Weekend Edition Saturday consisted, as usual, in using it to mean any irregular warfare whose targets are Western, even though that's not the actual definition of the word. Here's what I wrote NPR:

In today's interview with the commander of the Marine barracks in Beirut bombed in 1983, your anchor accepted the guest's description of this event as beginning the period of "terrorist suicide car and truck bombings." This is a seriously inaccurate statement.

It is accepted that the reason terrorism is particularly heinous is that, by definition, it targets civilians. But the Beirut bombing did not target civilians. To blur the meaning of this word undermines the moral position against terrorism.

I urge WESat to run a correction.

You can write NPR as well by going to and clicking on "Contact Us."

Eric Hamell

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