TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

On Cable News, ‘Torture’ Is a Dirty Word

When George Carlin revealed his “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television,” the word  ”Torture” was not on the list. In a post-9/11 cable news world however, it may as well have been one.

A survey of media coverage from the organization “Covering Torture  suggests that cable news channels are far more likely to avoid the word torture in their coverage of world events, and instead use less offensive euphemisms for the practice, at least when applied to the U.S. government.

Over 72% of cable news coverage of torture used a euphemism for the practice, compared to 28% that used the word itself. By comparison a majority of coverage in print outlets and wire reports referred to “torture” specifically.

Fox News and CNN were more likely to use euphemisms for torture than MSNBC. CNN and FNC used euphemisms 78% and 79% of the time, respectively, while MSNBC was split evenly 50/50.

You can see the full report, with more data, here.

Mediabistro Course

Create Quick Video for the Web

Create Quick Video for the WebLearn how to shoot, edit, and encode online video! Starting October 4, write video scripts and story outlines, shoot and edit film, and broadcast your work on video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Students will get hands-on experience with a Canon HDV camera and Final Cut in this course. Register now!