The 'T word' for Bin Laden, but only an 'M' rating for Hamas

Leo Rennert
Pick up the front page of the Washington Post for Monday, May 2, and there's no shortage of the "T" (terrorist) word in dispatches of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. special forces.

Bin Laden was the "global face of terrorism," the symbol of "the insidious threat of non-state terrorism that has been a defining feature of the 21st century."   Bin Laden's killing is a major setback to his "terrorist organization."

Ditto on the front page of the New York Times, which recalls that Bin Laden's death came nearly 10 years after the 9/11 attack on the U.S. by "Al Qaeda terrorists."  The headline over his obit calls Bin Laden "an Icon to the Cause of 'Terror."  Another front-page piece refers to the "terrorist who had eluded capture for almost 10 years."

All spot-on and objectively, factually true.  Bin Laden masterminded a campaign of terrorism so there should be no hesitancy in using the "T" word.  Terrorism is defined as a deliberate attack on civilians in pursuit of a political, religious, or ideological agenda.  And that fits Bin Laden to a "T.

But when it comes to Hamas, Hezb'allah, Islamic Jihad and sundry other Palestinian terrorist groups, the Washington Post and the New York Times throw exactitude out the window and instead trot out their favorite sanitizing euphemism -- "militants."

Never mind that, as a percentage of population, Israelis have absorbed a higher civiian death toll from Palestinian terrorism than Americans did on 9/11.  The double standard continues to reign at both papers, which regularly avoid using the "T" word when Israelis are injured or killed by  rocket attacks or suicide bombings.

Thus, the Washington Post, alongside all its Bin Laden pieces on May 2, features an article by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg that refers to the "militant Islamist group Hamas."  Yes, the Post will use the "T" word in direct quotes by Israeli officials and acknowledge that Israel and the U.S. consider "Hamas to be a terrorist organization."  But Greenberg and other Post reporters make it quite clear that the Post itself doesn't deem Hamas worthy of the "T" word.
Pick up the front page of the Washington Post for Monday, May 2, and there's no shortage of the "T" (terrorist) word in dispatches of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. special forces.

Bin Laden was the "global face of terrorism," the symbol of "the insidious threat of non-state terrorism that has been a defining feature of the 21st century."   Bin Laden's killing is a major setback to his "terrorist organization."

Ditto on the front page of the New York Times, which recalls that Bin Laden's death came nearly 10 years after the 9/11 attack on the U.S. by "Al Qaeda terrorists."  The headline over his obit calls Bin Laden "an Icon to the Cause of 'Terror."  Another front-page piece refers to the "terrorist who had eluded capture for almost 10 years."

All spot-on and objectively, factually true.  Bin Laden masterminded a campaign of terrorism so there should be no hesitancy in using the "T" word.  Terrorism is defined as a deliberate attack on civilians in pursuit of a political, religious, or ideological agenda.  And that fits Bin Laden to a "T.

But when it comes to Hamas, Hezb'allah, Islamic Jihad and sundry other Palestinian terrorist groups, the Washington Post and the New York Times throw exactitude out the window and instead trot out their favorite sanitizing euphemism -- "militants."

Never mind that, as a percentage of population, Israelis have absorbed a higher civiian death toll from Palestinian terrorism than Americans did on 9/11.  The double standard continues to reign at both papers, which regularly avoid using the "T" word when Israelis are injured or killed by  rocket attacks or suicide bombings.

Thus, the Washington Post, alongside all its Bin Laden pieces on May 2, features an article by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg that refers to the "militant Islamist group Hamas."  Yes, the Post will use the "T" word in direct quotes by Israeli officials and acknowledge that Israel and the U.S. consider "Hamas to be a terrorist organization."  But Greenberg and other Post reporters make it quite clear that the Post itself doesn't deem Hamas worthy of the "T" word.