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Who's getting bombed -- Gadhafi, Qaddafi or Khaddafy?

The cable news networks all gave major coverage throughout the weekend to international airstrikes targeting the leader of Libya, but they couldn't agree on just how to render the last name of the country's recalcitrant strongman from Arabic into English.

CNN and its sister network, HLN, used the spelling Gadhafi; the Fox News Channel, Qaddafi; and MSNBC, Khaddafy (which had the unitended editorial effect of coming closest to "daffy.") Oddly, MSNBC didn't even agree with its own Web site, which used CNN's spelling.

This isn't the first time the cable nets have had a difference of opinion on how to convert a name from the Arabic alphabet into English. Fox spells the first name of the leader of Al Qaeda as "Usama" instead of the more conventional "Osama." In the same vein, Fox also calls Qaddafi "Muammar," while its competitors refer to Gadhafi (and Khaddafy) as "Moammar."

And then there's the Muslim holy book, which traditionally has been known as the Koran. Fox uses that spelling, but several years back, CNN changed its spelling to "Quran."


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