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After shooting attack in Tucson, U.S. journalists avoid using violent cliches




After the speculative coverage of the Arizona shooting attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Tucson, various U.S. journalists have begun to doubt and self-censor the use of phrases like "in the cross hairs," "blasting," "taking aim," and "under fire," among others.

This comes as the media debate about the role of journalists in violent political rhetoric and the use of the phrase "blood libel" by Sarah Palin.

CNN's John King apologized on the air for one of his guests who used the term "cross hairs." Byron York of The Washington Examiner called such a gesture ridiculous, especially since the expression has been used numerous times before without inciting violence.

But King is not the only one. The Cutline interviewed several political journalists who admitted having been questioned by their editors or even having begun self-censorship and monitoring of so-called militant, violent, or confrontational expressions. Although none of the journalists said they believe such phrases motivated the attack in Tucson, they admitted that "putting such words under the spotlight has prompted them to refrain from using language that may be lazy, inappropriate or simply inaccurate when sizing up a political disagreement," according to The Cutline article.