From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

The war on the War on Terror. We know that reporting on terrorism has many challenges, such as working out which Melbourne teenager to put on the front page of the paper or determining whether beheading plans exist, but at Aunty they’ve been debating the use of the word “terror” itself. This email was sent to staff two weeks ago from a staffer at the ABC’s Production Desk:

“From: ——-(Sydney)
Sent: Friday, 19 September 2014 12:10 PM
To: DG-News All Staff
Subject: terror v terroism, terrorist


We need to watch our use of the word ‘terror’.

ABC style says don’t confuse ‘terror’ with ‘terrorism’.  It’s an ill-conceived term because ‘terror’ is a noun, yet, the western media has since adopted it as an adjective, viz: TERROR THREAT, TERROR ATTACKS.

By definition, ‘terror’ is an intense, sharp, overpowering fear. It doesn’t sit well next to a verb.

The wire is awash with stories about ‘counter terror raids’. Please avoid and correct it if you see it.

TERRORIST ATTACK, ACT OF TERRORISM, are more appropriate.”

And it received this reply from someone who has the job title “Language Research Specialist”:

“From: ——
Sent: Friday, 19 September 2014 1:30 PM
To: ——
Cc: DG-News All Staff
Subject: RE: terror v terroism, terrorist

What a load of literal-minded hogwash. You are well behind the times. Haven’t you heard of the Reign of Terror? It would have been a good idea to check an up-to-date dictionary before making this attempt to enforce an out-of-date entry in the style guide. It’s an insult to the intelligence to suggest that anyone would confuse ‘terror’ in its passive, recipient sense (the state of being frightened) with ‘terror’ used to mean ‘terrorism’. Moreover, both ‘terror’ and ‘terrorism’ are nouns, and both can be used to modify another noun.

[entries from Macquarie Dictionary Online below]


/ˈtɛrə/ (say ‘teruh)

noun1. intense, sharp, overpowering fear: to be frantic with terror.

2. a feeling, instance or cause of intense fear: to be a terror to evildoers.

3. (upper case) a period when a political group uses violence to maintain or achieve supremacy, as that during the French Revolution.

4. Also, holy terrorColloquial a person or thing that is a particular nuisance, especially a child: *Children are little terrors and fairly clever at getting out of harnesses. –news, 1990.

[Latin; replacing Middle English terrour, from French or Latin]

Reign of Terror

noun a period of the French Revolution from about March 1793, to July 1794, during which many people were ruthlessly executed by the ruling faction.


/ænti-ˈtɛrə/ (say antee-‘teruh)

adjective designed to oppose or nullify terrorist activities.

war on terror

noun (sometimes upper case) (the name sometimes given to the aggressive actions taken by the US and its allies in response to terrorist acts, instigated by the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001; refers especially to the US-led military action in Afghanistan in 2001–02 and in Iraq from 2003.)

Also, war on terrorism.”

Has the war on “terror” already been lost?

#Fridgemagnetwatch. We hear that guests at the ABC’s Southbank studios now have to show photo ID on their way in as well as signing in and out of the guest book. Heard of anywhere else with beefed-up security? Let us know. 

Lingerie football on Nine? Fans of the Legends Football League will be sad to learn that the 2014-2015 season won’t be going ahead due to a lack of broadcast partner. We hear that without the ability to beam teams such as the Victoria Maidens and the New South Wales Surge into lounge rooms around the country the games can’t go ahead. Haven’t heard of the Legends Football League? That’s the name for the women’s gridiron competition in which all players wear lingerie as their uniforms, which was broadcast on 7Mate last year. We asked the LFL why it waited until three weeks out from the start of the season to pull the plug and were told by Mitchell Mortaza, the founder and chairman of the league, that a deal couldn’t be reached this year:

“We at LFL Australia did not want to produce a scaled down version of the sport without a television deal being place for the upcoming 2014 season. We do have a commitment from a television broadcaster for the 2015 season of LFL Australia and look forward to not only returning to the gridiron in Australia in October 2015, but we will see expansion of the sport into New Zealand. Our deal with 7Mate elapsed after the 2013 season as it was a single season agreement. The LFL will be nationally televised in 2015, however not with 7Mate.”

We asked Mortaza what channel would be the broadcast partner in 2015, but he wouldn’t confirm a deal until an official announcement was released. This got Ms Tips thinking, if not 7Mate, what other channel would broadcast this league? The ABC and SBS wouldn’t have any money in their already constrained budgets for the league, and Fox Sports, Seven and Channel Ten told us they hadn’t bought the 2015 rights. We asked Nine as well, but didn’t hear back. Why was a deal not reached for this year? If you know, fill us in.

‘Ello, Ello. It’s the new social media platform that has the tech world talking, but many of don’t really know what’s going on with Ello. It sells itself as an ad-free, stripped-back version of Facebook, and so far take-up is said to be high among the tech-savvy crowd. Federal Labor MP Tim Watts is already on board, using it to have a go at Christopher Pyne and the government’s higher education policies. Watts currently has eight followers, so we’re not sure how effective it is. In its beta stage, Ello is an invitation-only social network, with users having 25 invites to give out. It does sound very much like a kindergarten birthday party — we wonder if Watts has sent Wyatt Roy an invite?

Keeping up with the Joneses. Ms Tips greatly encourages civic engagement so was glad to see that a member of the public had written to LNP member for Herbert Ewen Jones to ask about the government’s anti-terror(ism?) laws. The concerned citizen mentioned that more people die by falling off ladders than die in terror attacks in Australia. Seems like Bernard Keane’s analysis of our terror threat is being read far and wide.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

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