FOX News doctors AP reports to mimic White House terminology

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Since April 2002, FOX News has consistently doctored Associated Press articles featured on the FOX News website concerning terrorist attacks in the Middle East to conform to Bush administration terminology. Without any editorial notation disclosing that words in the AP articles have been changed, FOX News replaces the terms "suicide bomber" and "suicide bombing" with "homicide bomber" and "homicide bombing" to describe attackers who kill themselves and others with explosives. In at least one case, FOX News actually altered an AP quote from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to fit this naming convention, and then revised it to restore the quote without noting either the original alteration or its correction.

The Associated Press noted in April 2002 that FOX News first began using the term "homicide bombing" in its own reports immediately after Bush administration officials -- such as then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer -- adopted the term. While other news organizations continued to use the term "suicide bomber," the AP reported, "Dennis Murray, executive producer of [FOX News'] daytime programming, said executives there had heard the phrase ["homicide bombing"] being used by administration officials in recent days and thought it was a good idea."

But Media Matters for America has found that FOX has applied the "homicide" terminology not only in its own original reports, but also in the AP reports that it publishes on its website. Readers are led to believe that the AP itself uses the "homicide" terminology, when in fact it does not. According to a Media Matters search, the AP has used the terms "homicide bomber" or "homicide bombing" when referring to terrorist attacks in only one article, published on May 7, 2004. These terms have otherwise appeared in AP articles only in quotations.

FOX News website Associated Press

2/20/05 (Google cache): "The fact that you have these homicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," Clinton told reporters.

2/22/05: "The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," Clinton told reporters. (The article was revised to accurately quote Senator Clinton. Though the article was otherwise unchanged, FOX News changed the article's date of publication and made no admission of error.)

2/19/05: "The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure," Clinton told reporters.

1/4/05: The homicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a U.S. mess hall in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.

1/3/05: The suicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a U.S. mess hall in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.

12/30/04: Fourteen U.S. soldiers died Dec. 21 when a homicide bomber walked into a mess tent in Mosul packed with soldiers having lunch. In all, 22 people were killed and dozens wounded in the blast.

12/30/04: Fourteen U.S. soldiers died Dec. 21 when a suicide bomber walked into a mess tent in Mosul packed with soldiers having lunch. In all, 22 people were killed and dozens wounded in the blast.

12/23/04: The U.S. military was re-examining security measures at bases across Iraq on Thursday, a day after saying an attack that killed 22 people at a camp near Mosul was likely carried out by a homicide bomber who may have had inside information.

12/23/04: The U.S. military was re-examining security measures at bases across Iraq on Thursday, a day after saying an attack that killed 22 people at a camp near Mosul was likely carried out by a suicide bomber who may have had inside information.

9/6/04: A homicide bomber sped up to a U.S. military convoy outside Fallujah and detonated an explosives-packed vehicle on Monday, killing seven Marines and three Iraqi soldiers, U.S. military officials said. It was the deadliest day for American forces in four months.

9/6/04: A suicide attacker sped up to a U.S. military convoy outside Fallujah and detonated an explosives-packed vehicle on Monday, killing seven Marines and three Iraqi soldiers, U.S. military officials said. It was the deadliest day for American forces in four months.

4/21/04: A homicide attacker bombed a security police building in the Saudi capital Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding 148. The attack had the hallmark of an Al Qaeda operation, officials said.

4/21/04: A suicide attacker bombed a security police building in the Saudi capital Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding 148. The attack had the hallmark of an al-Qaida operation, officials said.

1/15/04: Scores of Israelis have died in homicide attacks, most of them blamed on Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. On Wednesday, a Palestinian homicide bomber blew herself up at the major crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing at least four Israelis and wounding seven other people.

1/14/04: Scores of Israelis have died in suicide attacks, most of them blamed on Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. On Wednesday, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew herself up at the major crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing at least four Israelis and wounding seven other people.

10/7/03: The military said the closure is among measures to keep Palestinian attackers out of the country. Security was intensified after a weekend homicide bombing in the Israeli city of Haifa in which 19 people were killed.

10/7/03: The military said the closure is among measures to keep Palestinian attackers out of the country. Security was intensified after a weekend suicide bombing in the Israeli city of Haifa in which 19 people were killed.

5/22/02: A homicide bomber killed himself and at least two other people late Wednesday in the Israeli city of Rishon Letzion.

5/22/02: A suicide bomber killed himself and at least two other people late Wednesday in the Israeli city of Rishon Letzion.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
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