Call Torture by its Real Name

Call Torture by its Real Name

Instead of rape, let’s just call it, "unilateral, physical intimacy." Instead of torture, let’s just call it, "enhanced interrogation techniques," and pretend that it’s not morally wrong.


"Imagine for a moment our country elected a bunch of people who thought rape should be legal…" This is what Nation Washington editor Christopher Hayes asks us as guest host of The Ed Show. He says that the pro-rape people know that just coming out and promoting rape would not be accepted by the general populous. So instead, they get everyone to call it "unilateral, physical intimacy." But Hayes knows, "this is not a neutral phrase, this is propaganda."

Hayes uses the same argument for the pro-torture euphemism, "enhanced interrogation techniques." He refers to a Harvard University study that compares how the media described the practice of waterboarding before the Bush administration and after. From the 1930s to the early 2000s, the New York Times called or characterized waterboarding as torture, 82 percent of the time. From 2002 to 2008, it was only 1 percent of the time. As thing for the Los Angeles Times: from the 1930s to the early 2000s waterboarding was called or characterized as torture 96 percent of the time and only 5 percent of the time from 2002 to 2008. During that later period, USA Today never referred to it as torture. "The term enhanced interrogation technique from the beginning was designed to fuse our moral circuitry," Hayes says. "It’s the job of the independent press to trigger our moral alarms. The New York Times and the LA Times failed this basic duty."

Melanie Breault

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