Sunday, July 03, 2005

Adopting Jargon from Invested Sources

It was reported recently that another US helicopter “crashed” while taking “indirect and direct” fire from insurgents. Crashed? Might it be more accurate and impartial to report that the aircraft “was shot down?”

Crashed is the term government officials reported, but “shot down” is the event that occurred. Why does the media sell the government’s company line on a matter like this? Call me crazy, but it seems to do a great disservice to the dead soldiers aboard the aircraft to suggest that they may have died as a result of something other than a violent conflict. “Crash” is what happens when you lose control of a vehicle or it fails to operate correctly. Calling the event a crash is hardly anything more than a tragically bad joke. Do you really mean to suggest that the fire the helicopter was taking at the time was not the cause of the crash? How can media in good conscience review the circumstances and imply that perhaps the soldiers that perished could be more to blame for the malfunction than a willing attack from forces on the ground?

As independent observers, adopting the story of an invested party is simply bad business. Just who is it that the media are serving by stopping short of calling this helicopter crash exactly what it was?