Sunday 11 December 2016

Robert Fisk: Media is held captive by ignorance and the language of power

Published 21/06/2010 | 05:00

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It is Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror.

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But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon goes like this: terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

How many times did I just use the word terror? 20. But it might as well be 60, or 100, or 1,000, or a million. We are in love with the word, seduced by it, fixated by it, attacked by it, assaulted by it, raped by it, committed to it. It is love and sadism and death in one double syllable, the prime time-theme song, the opening of every television symphony, the headline of every page, a punctuation mark in our journalism, a semicolon, a comma, our most powerful full stop. Terror, terror, terror, terror. Each repetition justifies its predecessor.

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