What Terror? Networks Call Hamas ‘Militants,’ ‘Fighters,’ 9-1 Over ‘Terrorists’

Broadcast news outlets have figured out a way to end terrorism. Just stop calling it what it is. They identify terror groups like Hamas “militants” instead.

Hamas has been raining rockets indiscriminately on Israel and is blamed for the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens. It’s a group the United States has designated as terrorist for nearly 17 years. Yet on evening and morning broadcasts, ABC, CBS and NBC called them “militants” and “fighters” by a 9-to-1 margin over “terrorists” (18-2).

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In fact, only CBS even used the term “terrorist.” It also had far more uses of the other terms than terrorist (11-2).

CBS “Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley began his piece by saying the Israeli military had launched attacks into Gaza, “responding to rockets that were launched into Israel by Islamic militants.” He added that the “militant group Hamas won an election there in 2006.”

CBS foreign correspondent Holly Williams corrected the record a bit. First she called the attackers “Palestinian militants” but later added that “Israel said today that its new offensive is targeting terrorists.” However, she immediately followed that by calling Hamas, “the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.”

During her Wednesday morning report, Williams once again mentioned that Israel considered Hamas to be “terrorist.” But she added seven other terms for Hamas as well. Then she added, “a leader from Hamas said all Israelis are now legitimate targets.” But they aren’t terrorists or anything.

NBC anchor Brian Williams began the “Nightly News” by calling the situation “an escalation of violence.”

NBC’s reporting was handled by Arab-American journalist Ayman Mohyeldin, who used to work for Qatar-based Al Jazeera. That network has been repeatedly labeled pro-terrorist. It threw a birthday party for a terrorist child-killer, ignored the rape of an American journalist in Tarhir Square and refused to report on terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Three Al Jazeera journalists were recently convicted in Egypt of having supported the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Mohyeldin explained “more than 100 rockets were fired into Israel.” But soon the coverage took a turn for the worse. He showed several close-ups of Gaza residents fleeing from Israel’s “assault on the strip.”

According to Mohyeldin, Israel was targeting rocket launching sites and “the home of suspected militants.” There was no mention that Hamas is a terror organization. Or that it often manufactures phony images of civilian casualties. Hamas leaders were treated as equals to Israel and called “authorities there.”

Later he showed “Palestinian fighters” attacking an Israeli beach before being killed by an Israeli helicopter.

ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” was just as bad. Middle East correspondent Alex Marquardt began his report talking about “the most brazen and provocative attacks yet by Palestinian militants.” He added that Israeli planes were striking “Hamas militants.”

During Wednesday’s “Good Morning America,” co-anchor Dan Harris twice used the propaganda term. He told how Israel was targeting “militants in Gaza” and how it killed a “one top Islamic militant and his family.”

This has been an ongoing network problem. In 61 percent of the stories (8 out of 13) from January through mid-November, 2012, the three networks went to great pains to avoid calling Hamas terrorists. Instead, they were “militants” with “militant Islamic leaders.”

Dan Gainor
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and Vice President for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center