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Thursday, July 12, 2007

What's a 'militant'?

My friend Yisrael (pictured) has an op-ed in today's JPost in which he takes apart the media's sham of referring to 'Palestinian' terrorists as 'militants.'
A New York Times July 6 report by Isabel Kershner had me mixed up. The headline read "Israeli Offensive in Central Gaza Kills 11 Militants" and the lead sentence began: "At least 11 Palestinian militants were killed in airstrikes and armed clashes during an Israeli Army incursion." It continued with these details: "Hamas officials said that seven of the dead were members of its military wing, known as the Qassam Brigades…The Islamic Jihad faction said one of its men was among the dead."

And to "balance" the information thus far provided, we next read that "Israeli military officials described the raid as a routine operation to root out 'terrorist infrastructures.'"

Why am I bewildered?

In the first instance, "militant" is used in the headline which is the main attention-grabbing element. It is also used in the lead sentence, the most important one, as any journalism student can tell you. But then the story acknowledges that 7 of the "militants" were members of Hamas's "military wing" and another was an Islamic Jihadist - individuals who generally specialize in anti-civilian warfare such as launching rockets into cities and blowing up buses.

However, when it comes to Israel's version, the term "terrorist" is in quotation marks, which means in the media lingo - don't believe them, that's only what they claim.
At the end of the op-ed, he takes on our friends at al-Beeb, who are quite open about their biases against Israel:
THE BBC is quite open about its aversion to the use of the T-word. Its Producers' Guidelines dictate: "The word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term without attribution… We should not adopt other people's language as our own… We should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as 'bomber,' 'attacker,' 'gunman,' 'kidnapper,' 'insurgent,' and 'militant.' Our responsibility is to remain objective and report in ways that enable our audiences to make their own assessments about who is doing what to whom." (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/).

No matter how much we complain, the BBC, CNN, NYT and Reuters are stuck on "militants." They've taken a word that's synonymous with "combative" and employ it to describe those who specialize in killing unarmed civilians.

The right word is "terrorist."

In this way, the media is taking sides and corrupting not only language, but our minds. They are being zealously "militant" in perverting political and historical truth while inverting reality.
Read the whole thing.

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