Torturing journalistic ethics

Our own Kris Kotarski in The Vancouver Sun:

Waterboarding-2 It is not often that one can pinpoint the moment that a person, an organization or a profession loses its moral compass but, thanks to a study released by Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy this April, we know that 2004 was the year that four of America's largest newspapers lost theirs.

The study, entitled Torture at Times: Waterboarding in the Media, details the use of the word “torture” by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today over the past 100 years when describing waterboarding, a form of torture made familiar by its use by American interrogators after 2002.

The study found that “for more than 70 years prior to 9/11, American law and major newspapers consistently classified waterboarding as torture.”

“From the early 1930s until the modern story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture: The New York Times characterized it thus in 81.5 per cent (44 of 54) of articles on the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3 per cent of articles (26 of 27). By contrast, from 2002-2008, the studied newspapers hardly ever referred to waterboarding as torture.”

More here.