When I read the BBC’s description of the killing of a French priest by “IS soldiers” this morning, the subheader referred to the “So-called Islamic State”. It’s no longer there now, but you can see it in a Google search:
Now given that that’s the adopted name of the group of Islamist fighters who are committing terrorist attacks, as well as killing people willy-nilly in Iraq and Syria, I wondered why they used the “so-called” monicker. I didn’t have to look far, because I found a senior BBC news producer giving the explanation on Quora. Here’s a screenshot of David Waddell’s answer
Well, I’ll be. Waddell’s reasoning, of course, is a post facto exercise in justifying his apologetic prejudices. The state is certainly Islamic, and whether “the majority of the world’s Muslims want nothing to do with it” is completely irrelevant. Most Baptists probably want little to do with the Westboro Baptist Church, so should that church change its name? The official name of the Christian Science faith is the “Church of Christ, Scientist.” I think Waddell should call it “The so-called Christian Science church” because a. most Christians want nothing to do with it and many don’t consider it “real Christianity”, b. Christ was most definitely not a scientist, and c. there’s no real science in “Christian Science.”
As for not calling ISIS a state, there’s a bit more justification in that, but no more than in putting quotes around “Christian Science” because it isn’t science. To be true to his principles, Waddell has to recognize this, and tell the BBC that it must always refer to that church as the so-called “Christian Science Church.”
If the BBC can’t even bear to call ISIS by the name it chose for itself, the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (or “ISIL”, with the “L” standing for “Levant”), then it’s simply editorializing in a way unseemly for an organization like the Beeb.
To use a phrase I hate, just sayin’. . .