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The Standard for Terrorism: Fatalities – Paris, November 13, 130+ dead. Oregon…zero.

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Oregon Terror?  In Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, 130 people died. In Oregon, a bunch of fools have killed or harmed…zero. Yet some journalists are outraged that not enough in the media deem Oregon “terror.”

Last year, when I wrote about the Chapel Hill murders of three Muslims for The Express Tribune Blogs, I revisited the definition of terrorism because the term is oft misused.

Victim of Terror – Bataclan, November 13, 2015

From my Chapel Hill article:  “Here’s the FBI’s definition of terrorism: ‘To intimidate or coerce a civilian population (or) influence the policy of a government./Violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes.’…”

Threat of Violence:  A case can be made that the Oregon folk are terrorists because they have threatened violence under the guise of self defense. This is a very liberal interpretation, all inclusive, and thus meaningless. Civilians are not involved, and there have been no victims.

Where are the victims?

My take at Express Tribune:  “Use of corrupted words relates to poor journalism and exhibit one is how the coverage of domestic controversy in the United States lacks rigid examination of facts, a fair analysis of both sides and proper context.

This is not only unique to underground blogs, but endemic in mainstream media as well, where the focus excessively becomes about the race and religion of those involved. While identity is important, it’s as important to adhere to a standard of objectivity when reporting on these issues.

This is evident in the first drama du jour of 2016 where Caucasian armed protestors have occupied a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon to protest government laws concerning land use and the incarceration of two farmers for setting fire to state-owned land.

The polemics are about the dynamics of controlled burns, property rights, and conservation laws, tied in with militia movements. Yet too many articles entail soft demagoguery, framing the issue as definitely one of race and terrorism. This creates a Sisyphean need to perpetually educate the public, proving to be a burden for journalists. Jesse Walker, dissecting Malheur at the Los Angeles Times, writes,…more


Written by Caleb Powell

January 18, 2016 at 2:33 pm

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