Fox News has declared that it will not use the phrase “civil war” to describe the current violence in Iraq.
Fox’s Senior Vice President John Moody — whose infamous politically-slanted internal memos have gained notoriety — said in a statement that “some are using the term civil war to indicate failure, not inside Iraq, but on U.S. policy in Iraq. We’re unwilling to fall into that tender trap. We’re not using the term because there are non-Iraqis in the fray and that makes it something different.” Watch it:
Fox News is right, Iraq is not simply a civil war. ThinkProgress noted in October that Iraq has devolved into at least four distinct violent conflicts. But that does not mean that one of those conflicts is not a civil war. Indeed, according to scholars surveyed by the New York Times, not only is Iraq in the midst of a civil war, the current level of bloodshed “already puts Iraq in the top ranks of the civil wars of the last half-century.”
WILSON: The debate over terminology has become a media issue following NBC’s formal decision to use the term civil war, a decision first announced on Monday’s Today Show.
MATT LAUER, THE TODAY SHOW: NBC News has decided a change in terminology is warranted, that the situation in Iraq, with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas, can now be characterized as civil war.
WILSON: And NBC correspondents have used the term several times since.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq’s worsening civil war will dominate –
WILSON: Other news organizations have not followed NBC’s lead. For example, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News said, “to be honest with you, I think it’s a political statement, not a news judgment.” At CNN, an official statement, “CNN will continue to report on what is happening in Iraq on a day to day basis and we will also report on the on- going debate in academic and political circles about what constitutes a civil war.”
The senior V.P. for editorial here at Fox said today, “some are using the term civil war to indicate failure, not inside Iraq, but on U.S. policy in Iraq. We’re unwilling to fall into that tender trap. We’re not using the term because there are non-Iraqis in the fray and that makes it something different.”