Over the past week I have been enthralled with the reporting of the upheaval of a society in Northern Africa. A 42 year despot's regime is crumbling around him, his people collectively rejecting his form of government. A rebellion, a revolution... or simply a protest?
Report after report identifies that cities are in the control of 'protesters'... that security is being handled by protesters... and that military forces are switching sides to join the protesters.
So I ask, at what point do we identify the protesters as opposition military forces? When do they cease to be peaceful protesters and begin being rebel forces?
"Public Opinion"... the choice words of the day. Regardless of your stance on the Libyan rebellion, be ever cautious of the thought control the media has over you, the reader.
If Qaddafi was reported as attacking and retaking military bases and coastal cities from rebelling civilians joined by military personnel who have renounced loyalty to the regime and joined the rebellion, one would be so inclined to look at the situation and say, "ah... civil war. Maybe Qaddafi should suspend Habeus Corpus and march his soldiers into every town and burn them until he can be assured that his country, his nation, is secure."
Instead, we hear of peaceful opposition "skirmishing" with Libyan military, and protesters "shooting down" Libyan jets.
What may have begun as anti-government protests has become a rebellion - a civil war. At what point does the media recognize this?