In the Face of Ghastly Terrorism in Israel, Why Is the US Media Refusing to Call It ‘Terrorism’?

With no minimal amount of surprise on Tuesday, Joe Biden actually did something right. We do need to be upfront when the president manages to accomplish something in a positive fashion, and his speech regarding the events in Israel and the aftermath caught many off guard with its forthright approach. 

Biden addressed the attacks perpetrated by Hamas and described them and their actions in direct fashion.

You know, there are moments in this life… when the pure, unadulterated evil is unleashed on this world. The people of Israel lived through one such moment this weekend at the bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas, a group whose stated purpose for being is to kill Jews. 
This is terrorism.

Biden also stated we as a country were behind Israel completely, and there was no call for Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint. What made his speech all the more glaring is how these firm words were in direct opposition to what we have seen from so much of the press since the outbreak of this war. Many media outlets have softened their reports on the carnage, and strived to address the concerns of the Palestinians, basically looking to justify the attacks.

It is always a mirthful moment when we get reminded of the attempts by those in the press to label themselves as fierce warriors, comparing themselves to Normandy soldiers or describing themselves as firefighters rushing into a conflagration. Not to suggest there are not those who do face danger in the field — as covered here recently — but usually, those braying the loudest about their bravery do so behind a flatscreen shield while armed with a keyboard.

However, when it comes to taking a firm stance against terrorism, these alleged gladiators of the truth shrivel and play games with their reports. To see the abject lack of media mettle, we need only look over the collective coverage of the gruesome and inhumane actions in Israel. The New York Times reported on the initial attacks with notably veiled language.

This use of deflective euphemisms typifies what was seen across the press spectrum. From ABC News to the APCBS NewsNBC News, and Washington Post, most described the attackers as “militants,” as PBS went with Hamas “fighters,” and other outlets chose similar diminished headings, such as the BBC using “gunmen.” This, despite the blatant and obvious actions of such a deplorable degree that anything less than “terrorism” being used is as tepid and wan as you can sound in contrast to the carnage on display. The overriding question is, “Why?”

While explanations are not direct, we get a window into this soft-peddling approach from Canada. At the Canadian Broadcasting Company, immediately after the horrific news began to break out of Israel, the Director of Standards for its news division issued an internal memo (confirmed as accurate by Canadian journalists) directing their reporters to refrain from calling Hamas butchers “terrorists.” The rationale for this is infuriating.

Do not refer to militants, soldiers or anyone else as ‘terrorists.’ The notion of terrorism remains heavily politicized and is part of the story. Even when quoting/clipping a government or a source referring to fighters as ‘terrorists,’ we should add context to ensure the audience understands this is opinion, not fact. That includes statements from the Canadian government and Canadian politicians. 

The logic is that a nation being invaded and suffering genocidal attacks might be politicized?! When prompted to explain themselves regarding this decision, the justification is all the more condescending and enraging. Their statement manages to come off as sounding elitist while at the same time displaying all of the cowardice of an appeasing peacenik.

CBC News attributes the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ to authorities, politicians and other officials who use these terms. There is no ban on these words. However, we ourselves avoid declaring specific groups terrorists, in line with the policies of many reputable news organizations and agencies around the world.

This is the decision of journalists to essentially declare that they know better than military authorities and/or political leaders on how groups should be classified. It is reminiscent of what we saw during the pandemic when there were times journalists would demean and decry medical professionals who were not adhering to the approved narrative – all while lecturing most on how we need to follow the science and medical professionals.

This tail-tucking approach to terrorism is hardly confined to Canada. At National Public Radio, they, too, adhere to this “don’t-say-terrorist” policy, to the extent that they alter the direct messaging from those officials in Israel. In a piece covering the carnage, NPR quoted an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson – sort of. First, here is the official statement that was made.

In NPR’s initial report, his comments were cut in various portions in order for them to edit out his use of “terrorists” and insert their own approved language. 

“Our troops are still fighting and hunting down” remaining Hamas militants, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said, out of some 1,000 militants who “went house to house, building to building in search for Israeli civilians.”

What is blatantly unclear about any justification from the press for this complete reclassification of terrorism is why they choose to do so in opposition to the official national declarations. Beyond Joe Biden’s choice words on the matter, both the United States and Canadian governments have classified Hamas as…a terrorist organization. This has been the position for over two decades. 

But our cowardly journalism elitists want to pretend they know better. Understand, as they work to reclassify and soften the barbaric acts that are both evident to see and officially recognized by the government, these are the same minds who state how they are the official administrators of the truth.

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