Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Using passive voice for moral neutrality

It drives me crazy when I read a headline that says “3 die in bombing” and it turns out that one of the three people was the suicide bomber himself.

Instead, how about “2 killed,” or better yet, “2 murdered?”

The press often writes headlines in a way that imply that the suicide bomber just happened to be there and accidentally got killed like everyone else. But his death is not morally equivalent to the victims of the bombing. He is a murderer.

Murderers don’t deserve to get counted. They’re not victims; they’re criminals.

By using the passive voice, newspapers claim that they’re being objective. But really, what’s so subjective about condeming murder? There are moral absolutes in this world.