Network Evening Shows Don’t Name Islam in London Terror Attack

What does a murderous jihadist terrorist have to do to get some recognition for his cause? You hack a British soldier to death in broad daylight on a London street while shouting “Allahu akbar” and then “swear by the almighty Allah” that you’ll never stop fighting, and the U.S. broadcast networks still can’t bring themselves to utter a word about Islam.

True, the ABC CBS and NBC evening broadcasts called the attack “terrorism,” but for all the information they gave viewers, the attackers might have been Basque separatists or animal rights zealots.

On “Nightly News” NBC anchor Brian Williams said the attackers allowed “people to take video while they vent their message about religion and politics.” Correspondent Michelle Kosinski said one of the attackers “made a long political statement, weapons still in his blood-covered hands.”

CBS “Evening News with Scott Pelley” went a bit further, as reporter Charlie D’Agata mentioned that “Witnesses said that the men shouted ‘god is great’ in Arabic during the attacks.” Hmmm. Presbyterians maybe?

Over at ABC, on “World News with Diane Sawyer,” reporter Lama Hasan would only say British authorities were trying to find out including “whether or not one of [the attackers] is of African origin with ties to terrorist groups.” Of the one attacker’s video rant, Dian Sawyer said, “officials in the United States and the United Kingdom are studying the meaning of this tape.” Yes, it’s a real head-scratcher.

By contrast, the U.K. media seems to be calling the attacks what they are. The BBC (no right-wing media shop) reported that one of the attackers told a witness, “I killed him because he kills Muslims over there and I am fed up that people kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The BBC also said that “The Muslim Council of Britain said the murder was ‘a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly,’” and noted that “At least two plots by Islamist extremists to kill soldiers in the UK have been foiled in recent years.”

This morning, the networks did identify radical Islam as the attackers' motivation, but their initial reluctance in the face of obvious evidence fits a pattern, as when they wouldn't call Hamas terrorists while Hamas was making terrorist attacks on Israel.

Matthew Philbin
Matthew Philbin
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture