The New York Times announced on Thursday that it will use the word torture to describe the United States' controversial interrogation tactics on terror suspects.
"From now on, The Times will use the word “torture” to describe incidents in which we know for sure that interrogators inflicted pain on a prisoner in an effort to get information," said Times executive editor Dean Baquet.
In the past, the Times had been sharply criticized for not using the word torture. Instead, the Times had referred to torture as "brutal interrogation," or similar epithets.
The Times is hardly the only major media outlet to avoid using the word "torture." Reuters referred to the tactics as "brutal interrogation methods" and the AP has called them "enhanced interrogation techniques."
The media have been accused of following along with President Bush's denial that the U.S. does not use torture. As Banquet admits that "while the methods set off a national debate, the Justice Department insisted that the techniques did not rise to the legal definition of “torture.”
Baquet said that reporters and editors had debated the issue in wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, which has yet to be released. Last week, President Obama admitted that the CIA "tortured some folks" in post-9/11 anti-terror efforts.