Zack Beauchamp at Vox.com suggested “New York Times news articles aren't exactly known for their colorful prose.” But Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren raised eybrows by “describing the Palestinian militant faction Hamas as a ‘militant Islamic group widely seen in the West as the devil.’”
Beauchamp argued that the language was “actively misleading,” not because the West is too heavily secular, or because Hamas is a positive force, but because the U.S. and the European Union are cheering on their negotiations with the less extremist Fatah faction:
The US was initially skeptical of Hamas' inclusion, but has started to make optimistic noises. The EU is practically ecstatic about Hamas-Fatah rapprochement.
So unless you think the US and the EU are okay with making a deal with the devil, then the New York Times' language wasn't just weird: it was actively misleading.
Perhaps that's why they changed it. The newest version of the article instead describes Hamas as "widely reviled in the West."
Beauchamp concluded: “This isn't really a huge deal, but it does illustrate why using precise language in the Israeli-Palestinian debate is so important. Yes, the US and EU list Hamas as a terrorist group. No, that's not the same thing as thinking that they're Satan. These things are complicated.” Terrorism is evil, but just moderately evil?
[HT: Dan Gainor]