It’s up to journalists to deny notoriety to those who most want it

August 16, 2016

How do we prevent the next loner terrorist?

First and foremost, stop using the names of those who have committed acts of destruction. It is critically important that the media cease and desist from glorifying the actions and the names of these misfits. That photo of the jerk with the old deer rifle on Parliament Hill has probably done more to promote this brand of nihilism in Canada than any ISIS propaganda.

It’s up to you, Canadian journalists, all of you, to shut down that impulse you all have to make stars of these isolated failures.

I suggest that from this point on we use Orwell’s unperson to identify each wannabe terrorist, providing a simple identifier such as “Parliament Hill unperson” or “London unperson” to distinguish among them.

We must no longer provide the significance of remembering their names.  That tribute is for veterans who gave their lives in service of Canada.

Legislation has required a number of changes in the diction of journalism, particularly in the areas of race relations and gay rights.  Would it be too great an effort for Peter Mansbridge to refrain from rolling the name of the latest miscreant off his tongue and reconfigure his script to avoid saying it?


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