'Resistance fighters' in the news

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Reuters' Dan Whitcomb followed up on Tuesday's post about the L.A. Times halting use of the term "resistance fighters" to describe the attackers of U.S. troops in Iraq. LAT assistant managing editor Melissa McCoy elaborates in the story that the move came from editors, not reader complaints:

"(Times Managing Editor) Dean Baquet and I both individually had the same reaction when we saw the term used in the newspaper," McCoy said. "Both of us felt the phrase evoked a certain feeling, that there was a certain romanticism or heroism to the resistance."

McCoy said she considered "resistance fighters" an accurate description of Iraqis battling American troops, but it also evoked World War II -- specifically the French Resistance or Jews who fought against Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto.

"Really, it was something that just stopped us when we saw it, and it was really about the way most Americans have come to view the words," McCoy said...

"We are loath to proscribe the use of just about any word," she said. "But sometimes certain combinations of words send an unintended signal. You combine these two seemingly innocuous words and suddenly they have this unintended meaning."

In the piece, a New York Times top editor agrees with the new LAT practice and Washingon Post foeign editor David Hoffman sees no problem with "resistance fighters:" "They are resisting an American occupation so it's not inaccurate."


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