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Is waterboarding torture? NPR argues with itself

Bob Garfield, co-host of NPR's On The Media, had an unusual guest last week: NPR ombudsman Alicia WaterboardingShepard. Garfield wanted to know why NPR doesn't refer to waterboarding as "torture." Said Garfield: "The U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights says that waterboarding is torture. The International Committee of the Red Cross have called what the U.S. did 'torture.' Waterboarding is unambiguously in violation of the International Convention on Torture, which has been ratified by 140-some countries." Shepard argued back that news organizations shouldn't let themselves be dragged into a legal debate: "Torture is illegal, so I think the media gets caught up in trying to figure out how to use this. And so, the one point I hope I made strongly was just stop characterizing things, just describe what they are." Read the whole very interesting exchange here. There's even an audio link for the pre- or post-literate.

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