Alpine Summit

Monday, February 06, 2006

I Spy

The Drudge Report has the headline "Domestic Spying Vital Against Al Qaeda: Gonzoles." The problem with this headline is that Gonzales doesn't say that. In fact, he makes the distinction quite clear:

No one takes lightly the concerns that have been raised about the interception of domestic communications inside the United States. But this terrorist surveillance program involves intercepting the international communications of persons reasonably believed to be members or agents of al Qaeda or affiliated terrorist organizations. This surveillance is narrowly focused and fully consistent with the traditional forms of enemy surveillance found to be necessary in all previous armed conflicts.

Continually calling this "domestic spying" is a problem of the media (not just the MSM source in this case). They are making this distinction all the time and they shouldn't. Even if it were acceptable to use biased terms like "conservative" or "right-leaning," those terms are only used when the general consensus is that these words mean something specific. "Domestic" spying is a subjective term in contention between two political sides in current events.

The media is taking a position on this issue when they say "domestic" spying. Bias is everywhere and people should remember that they need to read news stories as if they were advertisements. Don't doubt the actual facts being conveyed (i.e. "the government is tapping phones") but definitely question whether more subjective things aren't commentary by the author of the piece (i.e. "the government is engaging in domestic spying"). Such is the responsibility of an individual in reading the news. Ideally the news stories would simply say "the government is tapping phones," instead of "...domestic spying." Unfortunately, the goal of most journalists is to influence people's views rather than simply informing them of events.