April 27, 2004

"The holy city of ..." What are the journalistic standards for referring to a city, in an ordinary news report, as the "holy city of," say, Najaf? I'm sure many cities have shrines that are important to a religious group, but why must a reporter use "holy" as if it were part of the city's name? Reporters would never say, for example, the holy city of Salt Lake City. That would hit people as the inappropriate insertion of religious opinion into an objective report. Why does a different rule apply to cities in some other countries? No city in the United States ever gets referred to as "holy." Other than Toledo, I mean.

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