Hezbollah Commander Killed, Reuters Careful to Avoid Terrorist Label

The death of Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyah is a good opportunity to call to mind the Reuters news wire's refusal to call a terrorist a terrorist.

A February 13 story by Tom Perry and Laila Bassam contained the word "terrorist," but only in quotes from sources. The word "terrorism" occurred twice, once in quotes and another when describing a cited source as a "terrorism expert" (emphasis mine).:

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Senior Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyah, on the United States' most wanted list for attacks on Israeli and Western targets, has been killed by a bomb attack in Damascus, the Lebanese group said on Wednesday.

Hezbollah accused Israel of assassinating Moughniyah, who was head of the Hezbollah security network during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war, by planting a bomb in his car. Iran also blamed Israel and condemned the attack as an act of "state terrorism".

In Gaza, Hamas Islamists called for the Arab world to unite against Israel and Iran condemned it

Israel denied any involvement in the killing, seen as a major blow to Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah that fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006.

Moughniyah, 45, was killed late on Tuesday. He had long been on a list of foreigners Israel wanted to kill or capture and the United States had offered a $5 million reward for his capture.

"His killing is a huge blow to Hezbollah. It is very indicative," Magnus Ranstorp, terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defence College, told Reuters.

Moughniyah was implicated in the 1983 bombings of the U.S. embassy and U.S. Marine and French peacekeeping barracks in Beirut, which killed over 350 people, as well as the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the kidnapping of Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s.

For the NewsBusters archive of Reuters bias, check here.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters