Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

They're terrorists - not activists [September 7, 2004]
danielpipes.com ^ | September 7, 2004 | Daniel Pipes

Posted on 07/03/2006 8:13:13 AM PDT by don-o

"I know it when I see it" was the famous response by a U.S. Supreme Court justice to the vexed problem of defining pornography. Terrorism may be no less difficult to define, but the wanton killing of schoolchildren, of mourners at a funeral, or workers at their desks in skyscrapers surely fits the know-it-when-I-see-it definition.

The press, however, generally shies away from the word terrorist, preferring euphemisms. Take the assault that led to the deaths of some 400 people, many of them children, in Beslan, Russia, on September 3.

Journalists have delved deep into their thesauruses, finding at least twenty euphemisms for terrorists:

* Assailants - National Public Radio.
* Attackers - the Economist.
* Bombers - the Guardian.
* Captors - the Associated Press.
* Commandos - Agence France-Presse refers to the terrorists both as "membres du commando" and "commando."
* Criminals - the Times (London).
* Extremists - United Press International.
* Fighters - the Washington Post.
* Group - the Australian.
* Guerrillas - New York Post editorial.
* Gunmen - Reuters.
* Hostage-takers - the Los Angeles Times.
* Insurgents - in a New York Times headline.
* Kidnappers - the Observer (London).
* Militants - the Chicago Tribune.
* Perpetrators - the New York Times.
* Radicals - the BBC.
* Rebels - in a Sydney Morning Herald headline. * Separatists - the Christian Science Monitor.

And my favorite:

* Activists - the Pakistan Times.

The origins of this unwillingness to name terrorists seems to lie in the Arab-Israeli conflict, prompted by an odd combination of sympathy in the press for the Palestinian Arabs and intimidation by them. The sympathy is well known; the intimidation less so.

Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi made the latter explicit in advice for fellow reporters in Gaza to avoid trouble on the Web site www.newssafety.com, where one tip reads: "Never use the word terrorist or terrorism in describing Palestinian gunmen and militants; people consider them heroes of the conflict."

The reluctance to call terrorists by their rightful name can reach absurd lengths of inaccuracy and apologetics. For example, National Public Radio's Morning Edition announced on April 1, 2004, that "Israeli troops have arrested 12 men they say were wanted militants."

But CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, pointed out the inaccuracy here and NPR issued an on-air correction on April 26: "Israeli military officials were quoted as saying they had arrested 12 men who were 'wanted militants.' But the actual phrase used by the Israeli military was 'wanted terrorists.'" (At least NPR corrected itself. When the Los Angeles Times made the same error, writing that "Israel staged a series of raids in the West Bank that the army described as hunts for wanted Palestinian militants," its editors refused CAMERA's request for a correction on the grounds that its change in terminology did not occur in a direct quotation.)

Metro, a Dutch paper, ran a picture on May 3, 2004, of two gloved hands belonging to a person taking fingerprints off a dead terrorist. The caption read: "An Israeli police officer takes fingerprints of a dead Palestinian. He is one of the victims (slachtoffers) who fell in the Gaza strip yesterday." One of the victims!

Euphemistic usage then spread from the Arab-Israeli conflict to other theaters. As terrorism picked up in Saudi Arabia such press outlets as The Times (London) and the Associated Press began routinely using militants in reference to Saudi terrorists. Reuters uses it with reference to Kashmir and Algeria.

Thus has militants become the press's default term for terrorists.

These self-imposed language limitations sometimes cause journalists to tie themselves into knots. In reporting the murder of one of its own cameraman, the BBC, which normally avoids the word terrorist, found itself using that term. In another instance, the search engine on the BBC website includes the word terrorist but the page linked to has had that word expurgated.

Politically-correct news organizations undermine their credibility with such subterfuges. How can one trust what one reads, hears, or sees when the self-evident fact of terrorism is being semi-denied?

Worse, the multiple euphemisms for terrorist obstruct a clear understanding of the violent threats confronting the civilized world.

It is bad enough that only one of five articles discussing the Beslan atrocity mentions its Islamist origins; worse is the miasma of words that insulates the public from the evil of terrorism.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: agitprop; antiamericanism; bullzogby; cair; dnctalkingpoints; goebbelswouldbeproud; mediabias; michaelmoore; powerghraib; propaganda; proterrorist; terrorists; usefulidiots; waronerror; waronterror; waronterrorism; zogbyism
This is an oldie but good. We Freepers have finely tuned BS detectors; and mine goes off every time I read and hear the actual language used in reporting the "news" by the MSM.
1 posted on 07/03/2006 8:13:14 AM PDT by don-o
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: don-o

Heck, Reuters ran a photo of OBL referring to him as "Saudi dissident."


2 posted on 07/03/2006 8:19:56 AM PDT by LSUfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: don-o

Gee thanks Don-0.

Where'd ya think that old favorite battle cry came from?

You know tha one:

"Eschew Obsfucation"!

This should be of great use to those "born last night".


3 posted on 07/03/2006 8:20:24 AM PDT by CBart95
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: don-o
Good. But this is only PART of the story.

The Clintonoids in the US State Dept call them .... "allies".
The Clintonoids in the CIA call them "patriots".

4 posted on 07/03/2006 8:25:36 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CBart95
Were you optimistic in this way on 9/11? Did you believe it was the event that would "lead someone to figure this out?"

Yes, I was, with "united we stand" being the slogan of that period, and with the sense of resolve, the willingness to undo the Taliban regime. The 50-50 division in the United States now between those who understand we are at war and those involved in a glorified police operation was not something I expected.

But now, having seen that division, and having seen what happened after the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the 2005 London bombings and other major terrorist incidents, I'm no longer surprised.

A recent interview of Daniel Pipes.

5 posted on 07/03/2006 8:26:40 AM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the Right thing. Be a monthly donor. Pretty please.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Timesink; martin_fierro; reformed_democrat; Loyalist; =Intervention=; PianoMan; GOPJ; ...

Media Schadenfreude and Media Shenanigans PING

"Journalists have delved deep into their thesauruses, finding at least twenty euphemisms for terrorists..."

(old thread that seems to have come back)


6 posted on 07/03/2006 8:27:15 AM PDT by weegee (If fetal tissue is non-viable, then why are they trying to use it to stimulate cell production?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: weegee
(old thread that seems to have come back)

Which I made clear. It's an old article - I make new thread.

Yah - It's rather a Duh! concept. But, reminds us to make sure or BS dectors have the latests upgrades and patches.

7 posted on 07/03/2006 8:31:20 AM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the Right thing. Be a monthly donor. Pretty please.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: don-o

AP said in the wake of 9-11 that they would not refer to the hijackers as "terrorists" because they also lost employees and wanted to remain "impartial".

In the past month, a Canadian mulsim convert told ABC (in an interview about the terrorist cell in Canada that was arrested) that he was shocked about the reports of the 9-11 attacks by the "alledged hijackers".

I never see anyone in the media exercise ANY caution before condemning the "actions" of US troops.


8 posted on 07/03/2006 8:31:27 AM PDT by weegee (If fetal tissue is non-viable, then why are they trying to use it to stimulate cell production?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: don-o
I posted the following reply on another thread yesterday, but it is more apropos today:

I've always liked the riddle posed (as far as I know) by Lincoln:
Q. How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
A. Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

Sorry for the repetition. Sorry for the repetition.

9 posted on 07/03/2006 8:34:09 AM PDT by yeff (Liberals are like Slinkies ...useless, but fun to watch when you push them down the stairs :-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: don-o

It's not "the press", it's all leftist double speak. Straight out of Goebbels. It's the leftists war against America, Israel and the Jews and Western civilization.


10 posted on 07/03/2006 8:36:31 AM PDT by garyhope
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yeff
Well, Lincoln got a few things right, I must say.

Cool profile page you got there.

11 posted on 07/03/2006 8:38:06 AM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the Right thing. Be a monthly donor. Pretty please.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: don-o
What these euphemisms are ultimately doing, IMHO, is turning words like militant, guerilla, activist, dissident, and extremist into synonyms for terrorist. Now whenever I see any of those words now I think, "Ah, I know what THAT means."
12 posted on 07/03/2006 8:45:01 AM PDT by wizardoz ("Let them eat Hamas." - Luke Skyfreeper)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: garyhope
It's the leftists war against America, Israel and the Jews and Western civilization

Here's where I scratch my head and say, Hmmmmmm.

Assume that leftists in America are at war against America, Israel and the Jews and Western civilization.

Why do they not think forward think to imagine (to steal a John Lennon word) what sort of world it will be if they have their way?

Or is long term thinking a dying thing?

13 posted on 07/03/2006 8:45:23 AM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the Right thing. Be a monthly donor. Pretty please.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: don-o

Pipes is perfectly able to answer his questions and would'nt dream of launching an essay on the painfully obvious... like the one that prompted my remark.

He is devoid of youthful awe at how muslims lie and how others support that obvious kind of sophistry.

(we'll take a time out while you look up "sophistry")


14 posted on 07/03/2006 8:46:51 AM PDT by CBart95
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: don-o

"Why do they not think forward think to imagine (to steal a John Lennon word) what sort of world it will be if they have their way?"

I don't know, I don't get it either. Maybe they want to commit suicide.

"Or is long term thinking a dying thing?"

Lots of people don't think at all. "A walk through the waters of many men's souls would scarcely wet your feet."


15 posted on 07/03/2006 9:24:08 AM PDT by garyhope
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: don-o
MURDERERS would work for me. I had to laugh last week when I heard an ABC News Radio report say Hamas had 'spirited away' an Israeli soldier. 'Spirited away'? They frigging kidnapped him!
16 posted on 07/03/2006 9:29:03 AM PDT by Rummyfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rummyfan

Wizards, eh?


17 posted on 07/03/2006 9:44:51 AM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the Right thing. Be a monthly donor. Pretty please.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: don-o

FROM THE LEFTIST PLAYBOOK: He who controls the language, controls the argument.



18 posted on 07/03/2006 10:08:07 AM PDT by pyx (Rule #1. The LEFT lies. Rule #2. See Rule #1.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: don-o

Love in any language is love.
One who terrorizes is a terrorists, in any language. Playing the semantics card just doesn't get the job done.


19 posted on 07/03/2006 12:02:44 PM PDT by Frwy (Eternity without Jesus is a hell-of-a long time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Frwy

bump


20 posted on 07/03/2006 4:35:00 PM PDT by don-o (Don't be a Freeploader. Do the Right thing. Be a monthly donor. Pretty please.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson