Footnotes of an America United

These were these footnotes to the story of "America United."

The Reuters news service, which bills itself as the world's largest news and television agency, has banned use of the word "terrorist" by its journalists.  Reuters' head of news, Stephen Jukes, explained that "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.  We abstain from judgment and believe that the word 'terrorist' is a loaded term."

Six years ago, however, The Washington Post notes that Reuters referred to the Oklahoma City bombing as an act of terror.  But now, says, Jukes, that word is out because "we're just there to tell the story.  We're not there to judge the moral case."  Jukes also says he doesn't want to jeopardize the safety of Reuters staff on the frontlines in the Mideast and Afghanistan by seeming "to be siding with one side or the other."

ABC news has now barred its staff members from wearing American flag lapel pins on the air.  Spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told The Washington Post that, "We cannot signal how we feel about a cause, even a justified cause, through some sort of outward symbol."  That view is shared by such journalism teachers as Bob Steele of the Poynter Institute, who writes, "I don't believe in mixing my patriotism with my professionalism.  It sits wrong with my principles."

And a flag ban would undoubtedly meet with approval of Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas School of Journalism, who said the September 11 attacks were "no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism, the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime."

And then there is this: an Associated Press photo of an exhibit at Al Najah University in the West Bank town of Nablus.  The exhibit depicts the suicide bombing that killed 15 Israelis at a pizza parlor in Jerusalem back in August.  As the AP notes, the exhibition is replete with pizza slices and body parts strewn about the room.  The exhibit opened Sunday and is intended to mark the anniversary of the renewal of the Palestinian intifada launched against Israel after the collapse of the Middle East peace talks.