Also important from NYT announcement: "reporters urged that The Times recalibrate its language." Thank you NYT reporters.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) August 7, 2014
The NYT will, from now on, use the English language to describe the torture that the CIA inflicted on terror suspects. There was never any justification for the euphemisms but cowardice in the face of Republican intimidation and Bush administration spin. Executive editor Dean Baquet writes:
Over time, the landscape has shifted. Far more is now understood, such as that the C.I.A. inflicted the suffocation technique called waterboarding 183 times on a single detainee and that other techniques, such as locking a prisoner in a claustrophobic box, prolonged sleep deprivation and shackling people’s bodies into painful positions, were routinely employed in an effort to break their wills to resist interrogation.
Hooey. We knew all this beyond any doubt almost a decade ago. See my own review of several torture books for the New York Times Book Review in 2005 here. I used the word torture in that review to describe things that any sane person would call torture – based on the overwhelming evidence in front of us at the time. You can also read the Dish’s full and long history of campaigning for this change at the NYT here. Bill Keller should be forever ashamed of his caving in to government pressure for so long.
But now is not the time to cavil at the NYT for so long refusing to write in English. It’s time to celebrate that the newspaper of record is no longer covering for war criminals.