Sunday, December 14, 2003

Scare Quote "Watch" 
What’s the deal with the scare quotes in this Reuters article?

Also Saturday, eight Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian prisoners were flown home after being released from several U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq.
Three of the eight suffered "serious injuries which may result in partial disabilities," International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman Muin Kassis told The Associated Press. He said their injuries were the result of an "accident" during their detention.

It’s impossible to determine if the ironic quotes refer to the skepticism of the Red Cross spokesperson or are the creation of the reporter. In either case, though, if there is reason to doubt that their injuries were really an accident—if there’s any evidence of abuse—the reporter has an obligation to spell it out.
If there is no such evidence, then why use the scare quotes at all?

Splash, out


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