The New York Times’ public editor Arthur Brisbane reported in his latest column that readers are complaining over the Times’ inconsistent use of the word “torture” in reports following the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Brisbane noted that the previous Times public editor Clark Hoyt has also taken up the debate over using the term. As Brisbane explained, the Times decided the word “torture” amounts to “taking sides” on what is and isn’t. Instead, the Times opts to “use descriptive terms.”
Brisbane argued that the Times “should use the term ‘torture’ more directly, using it on first reference when the discussion is about — and there’s no other word for it — torture.”
To counter arguments about some practices that some say aren’t, the Times could just include “adding caveats that acknowledge the Bush camp’s view of its narrow legal definition,” Brisbane suggested. Read his column here.