Erik Larson

Nov 29, 2008

Homicide Bombing (or, could you repeat that?)

I really wish Fox News would stop using “homicide bomber” to describe suicide bombings . For one, it’s redundant. If we know that a bomber kills 12 in Iraq, we already know that there was a homicide. Just say “Bomber kills 12 …” and be done with it. Two, the “suicide” modifier adds information about the nature of the bombing; it tells us that in fact the bomber was also and intentionally killed by his detonation of the bomb. That tells us something new. Fox, please, stop munging the language in a dreadfully obvious attempt to place emphasis on those killed by the bomber. No such linguistic machinations are required. I’m sure your viewers will not be tempted, even remotely, to sympathize with the bomber , at the expense of the innocent people brutally killed. You can go ahead and use the language correctly; it’ll be all right.