For oddball tech reasons, I am unable to update the previous CNN item without breaking all existing links to it. So I'll add the new info this way.

The original item said:

* Michael Ware, usually a very, very tough critic of U.S. policy, narrates a perilous drive through Baghdad and refers maybe 50 times to "al Qaeda" threatening to attack him or Iraqi civilians.



Actually Ware's drive was deep into al Anbar. (Anderson Cooper was narrating the drive to the Baghdad airport -- I'm pretty sure.) Sorry for that misrecollection. The real point concerned Ware's repeated references -- and Cooper's, and those of everyone else during the hour or so of CNN coverage I saw -- to "al Qaeda" (along with Iran) as the adversary in Iraq.

Not "al Qaeda in Iraq," as President Bush himself is typically careful to say. Not "AQI," as the U.S. military typically puts it on its charts and PowerPoints. From CNN it was plain old "al Qaeda."

To U.S. viewers, plain old "al Qaeda" is the organization that attacked America six years ago. I don't see CNN consistently enough to be sure when they began applying this term to fighters within Iraq -- or whether it's a phenomenon of more than this one show. But on the basis of its unvarying use by a number of correspondents on this one show, I would have to assume that the change in terminology reflects a shift in "house style," as we in the media biz call it. Michael Ware himself, whom I don't know but do admire, has been the very opposite of a patsy for the Administration in his reporting from Iraq.

So why the change in CNN labeling? It's a mystery to me.

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