AP Stylebook Suggests Hamas Not Be Called ‘Terrorists,’ Though Term Is Fine for Republicans

Townhall Media

The media complex in this country has taken itself to all-new lows the past week regarding the manner in which the Israel-Hamas war has been covered. The wildly errant reporting is bad enough, but there has also been hesitancy towards calling out horrific acts, striving to deliver a both-sides approach towards heinous attackers, a willingness to be more critical of our ally Israel, and taking at face value spoon-fed reports from the terror group Hamas.

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And on this last point, there is yet another issue; the unwillingness of news outlets to even address the murderous outfit operating from Gaza as a group of “terrorists”. A number of outlets have come out declaratively on how they will use other terminology to describe terrorism or those who commit it as terrorists. As the BBC explained, in sniveling fashion, “Terrorism is a loaded word, which people use about an outfit they disapprove of morally. It's simply not the BBC's job to tell people who to support and who to condemn.” 

This is the industry that always cloaks itself as warriors for truth, yet now they are admitting they are cloaking the definitions of truthful words. And it is only getting worse.

The Associated Press has issued verbal guidance on the Israel-Hamas coverage and in their Stylebook the terms “terrorism” and/or "terrorist" are suggested to be avoided. The reasons given are, quite literally, head-shaking and fist-producing, because in striving to sound above-it-all they come off instead of appearing completely neutered. Start with them defining terrorism rather accurately.

The calculated use of violence, especially against civilians, to create terror to disrupt and demoralize societies for political ends.

While this is not only accurate, it is precisely what took place on October 7 when Hamas raided Israel. Yet here is the AP declaring it will not accurately describe what took place, nor label those who committed those exact actions. So the question is, Why? What is behind this decision to not use the term with 100 percent accuracy?

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The terms terrorism and terrorist have become politicized, and often are applied inconsistently. Because they can be used to label such a wide range of actions and events, and because the debate around them is so intense, detailing what happened is more precise and better serves audiences. Instead, we describe specific atrocities, massacres, bombings, assassinations and other such actions.

We will just move past the inherent idiocy of saying that you want to avoid politics when reporting on the actions of one political group acting out against another, and instead look at the offered solution to using the dreaded words. They sell us on the idea the word terrorism is too divisive, so it is better to describe the terrorist actions instead fully. Somehow, the Associated Press believes that saying “terrorists killed families” is too controversial, so their writers are being told to say “Hamas raided homes, beheaded children, and burned infants alive in their cribs.” This will not cast the organization negatively, you see.

The solution that is suggested is to go with calling Hamas fighters “militants”. We see why, as it offers the dictionary explanation that they are “ready to fight” while “promoting a cause.” This permits the both-sides approach and carries the implication they were compelled into these actions by hostilities performed by Israel. Of course, that term also has a military implication in its root form. Yet, we did not see Hamas attacking in a military fashion as they ransacked neighborhoods and committed mass murder at a concert venue…in terrorist fashion.

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What makes all of this linguistic cowardice more pathetic are two realities. The first is that our own government recognizes Hamas as (gird yourself here, AP), a terrorist organization. This is not a recent development. The State Department has listed them as such since 1997. The Associated Press knows this to be the case, as it was mentioned in an explainer the group the news syndicate published -- just this month.

The other detail worth noting is just how freely the term “terrorist” is tossed around in the press when it comes to Republicans. Funny, the political party has been declared by the press as not worthy of having both-sides coverage due to election denialism and similar actions, but they need to be sure that a murderous group torching infants needs to have its side of the story told. 

Just days after the gruesome attacks killed at least 1,400 Israeli citizens the same press corps was repeating the claim with energy that Representative Jim Jordan was a “legislative terrorist”. (The source? The AP!) While MSNBC is hesitant to go there with the terrorism charge, look at how regular FBI expert guest Frank Figliuzzi has dropped the term to describe various Republicans.

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This is all a clear attempt by the news industry to gloss over realities in this conflict, as it has become apparent that at least a sympathetic approach to Hamas and Palestine is taking place if not outright support. The willingness to accept claims of attacks from the known manipulative terror group is one thing, but here we have the Associated Press defying the use of a term in line with its own definition. 

Further, it does so while acknowledging our own government declared this group to be terrorists for decades. This leads to only one conclusion: The Associated Press is content to be a propaganda outlet. 

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