Only CBS Identifies Israel's Targets as 'Terrorists'; NBC and ABC See 'Militants'

Of the three morning shows on Thursday, only CBS allowed that Israel's targets in the ongoing violence could be called "terrorists." ABC and NBC described "militants " The networks all highlighted the plight of Palestinian civilians hurt or killed by Israel. But their journalists failed to wonder if Hamas was using people as human shields. Instead, Good Morning America's Alex Marquardt highlighted, "So far, around 80 Palestinians killed, the vast majority civilians. This morning, eight members of a single family mistakenly killed." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Translating from a woman whose house was destroyed, Marquardt quoted, "There is no reason to attack my house...There are no militants here." On CBS This Morning, Holly Williams narrated, "The Palestinians have no protection. This home was flattened by an Israeli strike yesterday. A man and two children were rushed to the hospital." But only CBS deviated from referring to Hamas as "militants." 

Williams allowed, "Israel says it's targeting terrorists in Gaza, hitting command centers and rocket launchers used by Hamas." 

On Wednesday, a Hamas spokesman declared, "All Israelis have now become legitimate targets."

Yet, for a report in the GMA 8am hour, Dan Harris stuck to the script, noting that among the Palestinian death toll were  "three militants." 

NBC's Today offered the least amount of coverage, just 35 seconds over four hours. Though brief, Craig Melvin avoided the word "militant" and "terrorist," instead noting:

CRAIG MELVIN: Secretary of State John Kerry is working to ease the growing tension between Israel and Hamas. This is day three of the heaviest fighting in years and neither side appears ready to back down. Israel continued to carry out air strikes in Gaza early this morning. Palestinian officials say seven people were killed, including five children when a strike destroyed their home. So far, more than 750 targets have been hit this week. 

To his credit, ABC's Marquardt explained the toll on Israel, pointing out that "more that 250 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas, now able to reach 100 miles away with its powerful arsenal." 

The Media Research Center's Dan Gainor noted on Wednesday that the networks chose "militant" or "fighters" over "terrorists" by a scale of 9-to-1. 

A transcript of the July 10 GMA segment is below: 


7:05

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to the escalating violence in the Middle East. Rockets falling on both sides of the border with the Gaza Strip and a possible ground invasion by Israeli troops looming. ABC's Alex Marquardt is in Gaza City for us this morning. Good morning, Alex. 

ALEX MARQUARDT: Good morning, Robin. The Israeli air force stepped up its air strikes overnight, pummeling the Gaza Strip. The death toll here quickly growing with more than 800 Israeli strikes so far in this operation as Hamas and other militant groups fire rockets farther and farther into Israel. In Gaza, the ground shaking Israeli air strikes rained down with drones and jets targeting militants and rockets and often destroying much more. So far, around 80 Palestinians killed, the vast majority civilians. This morning, eight members of a single family mistakenly killed. We've seen the destructive power of the strikes up close. Here, the three-story family home of Umsami [PH] now a pile of rubble. "There is no reason to attack my house," she told me angrily. "There are no militants here." In Israel today, terrified civilians fleeing to shelters for cover. Over the past three days, more that 250 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas, now able to reach 100 miles away with its powerful arsenal. But so far, no Israelis have been seriously wounded. And Israeli military officials told me this morning, they've mobilized 20,000 reserve troops so far for a possible ground invasion that Israel's President says could come soon, turning this no a much longer and bloodier conflict. Robin?

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org