From “BBC language that Labour loves to hear,” in The Telegraph, with thanks to all who sent this in:
When is a terrorist not a terrorist? When he is on the BBC, of course. Where – according to the corporation’s editorial guidelines – “the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding”.
Bomber, attacker, insurgent, militant – all are fine by the Beeb because they carry no “emotional or value judgments”. And heaven forbid anyone get emotional about the deaths of at least 52 people in the London bombings last week.
Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware “we are dancing on the head of a pin”, the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.
BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as “terrorists” although – nonsensically – they could refer to the bombings as “terror attacks”. And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the “t” word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair’s statement to the Commons.