September 6, 2004 by AK

Word choice is everything

Russian Rebels Had Precise Plan, announces the NYT.

Five words as if chosen to mislead millions of title-browsers. “Rebels” they were not (see post below); the paper used the word, it seems, to elicit sympathy from those numerous Americans who associate “rebel” with “freedom.” Some of the terrorists were not Russian in any way; some of the others were Russian nationals of Chechen extraction. If the Chechens were indeed fighting for independence, as the term “rebel” suggests, calling them “Russian” is a non-sequitur or an offense (“British rebels from the IRA”).

Non-Chechen Russian nationals (the only ones who can be technically termed “Russian”) hardly made up the majority of the attackers.


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