NY Times tops WaPo in 'militant' sweepstakes, 9 to 6

Leo Rennert
The New York Times and the Washington Post have a long history of sanitizing Palestinian terrorists.  There may be terrorists elsewhere in the world, like Al-Qaeda for example, but there are no terrorists in Palestinian territories.

When it comes to Palestinian terror organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, or the Popular Resistance Committee, the Times and the Post put them in more respectable company by using such civilizing euphemisms as "militants," or "fighters," or "guerrillas."  Anything to avoid the accurate "terrorist" label, notwithstanding that these folks qualify for it in spades.

Terrorism is defined in the dictionary as deliberate use of violence against civilians in pursuit of a political agenda.  That's exactly what these Palestinian groups, dedicated to the destruction of Israel, are up to when they deliberately launch rocket and mortar attacks against civilian populations in southern Israel --  238 in 2010, 653 in 2011, and more than 200 already this year.

Nevertheless, given all this, it's no surprise that the Times and the Post pulled out all the euphemistic dodges in reporting on the latest escalation of rocket fire from Gaza.  "Militant," which doesn't come close to conveying the terror offensive against Israeli civilians, is as expected their favorite euphemism du jour.

In its usage, the Times tops the Post by a 9-to-6 margin.  In a 10-paragraph article, the Times manages to squeeze in "militant" 8 times and, for good measure, also trots out one more "militant" in the headline ("Violence Continues For Israel and Militants" by Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner" March 11, page 10).

In fact, the Times sets a new single-paragraph record for reliance on "militant" -- no less than 3 "militants" in the lead paragraph -- "GAZA -- Cross-border violence between Israel and militant groups in Gaza continued Saturday, as Israeli airstrikes that began Friday afternoon killed several more Palestinian militants and militant groups fired scores of rockets into southern Israel, breaking months of relative calm."

When "militant" eventually becomes even a bit too much for Times correspondents and even they show signs of ''militant" fatigue,  they just add another ingredient to their euphemistic stew -- "fighters" to denote Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committee terrorists who forced half a million Israeli civilians into bomb shelters with unrelenting rocket barrages.  In addition to the 9 "militant" labels, these terrorists also are labeled "fighters" no fewer than 3 times.

The Post is no slouch either in disguising Palestinian terrorism.  In its 11-paragraph article, it manages to squeeze in "militant" 6 times, plus 1 "fighters" thrown in for good disguise measure.  The Post headline also scrubs any taint of terrorism from the 15 terrorists killed by Israel in pinpoint-accuracy strikes -- "Border clashes reported in Gaza Strip; 15 killed" by Karin Brulliard and Islam Abdulkarim, March 11, page A15.

The Times, however, is the clear winner.  The Post's lead paragraph manages only 2 "militants."

Bottom line with both papers --  all the euphemisms fit to print so as to exonerate Palestinian terrorism.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers 

The New York Times and the Washington Post have a long history of sanitizing Palestinian terrorists.  There may be terrorists elsewhere in the world, like Al-Qaeda for example, but there are no terrorists in Palestinian territories.

When it comes to Palestinian terror organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, or the Popular Resistance Committee, the Times and the Post put them in more respectable company by using such civilizing euphemisms as "militants," or "fighters," or "guerrillas."  Anything to avoid the accurate "terrorist" label, notwithstanding that these folks qualify for it in spades.

Terrorism is defined in the dictionary as deliberate use of violence against civilians in pursuit of a political agenda.  That's exactly what these Palestinian groups, dedicated to the destruction of Israel, are up to when they deliberately launch rocket and mortar attacks against civilian populations in southern Israel --  238 in 2010, 653 in 2011, and more than 200 already this year.

Nevertheless, given all this, it's no surprise that the Times and the Post pulled out all the euphemistic dodges in reporting on the latest escalation of rocket fire from Gaza.  "Militant," which doesn't come close to conveying the terror offensive against Israeli civilians, is as expected their favorite euphemism du jour.

In its usage, the Times tops the Post by a 9-to-6 margin.  In a 10-paragraph article, the Times manages to squeeze in "militant" 8 times and, for good measure, also trots out one more "militant" in the headline ("Violence Continues For Israel and Militants" by Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner" March 11, page 10).

In fact, the Times sets a new single-paragraph record for reliance on "militant" -- no less than 3 "militants" in the lead paragraph -- "GAZA -- Cross-border violence between Israel and militant groups in Gaza continued Saturday, as Israeli airstrikes that began Friday afternoon killed several more Palestinian militants and militant groups fired scores of rockets into southern Israel, breaking months of relative calm."

When "militant" eventually becomes even a bit too much for Times correspondents and even they show signs of ''militant" fatigue,  they just add another ingredient to their euphemistic stew -- "fighters" to denote Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committee terrorists who forced half a million Israeli civilians into bomb shelters with unrelenting rocket barrages.  In addition to the 9 "militant" labels, these terrorists also are labeled "fighters" no fewer than 3 times.

The Post is no slouch either in disguising Palestinian terrorism.  In its 11-paragraph article, it manages to squeeze in "militant" 6 times, plus 1 "fighters" thrown in for good disguise measure.  The Post headline also scrubs any taint of terrorism from the 15 terrorists killed by Israel in pinpoint-accuracy strikes -- "Border clashes reported in Gaza Strip; 15 killed" by Karin Brulliard and Islam Abdulkarim, March 11, page A15.

The Times, however, is the clear winner.  The Post's lead paragraph manages only 2 "militants."

Bottom line with both papers --  all the euphemisms fit to print so as to exonerate Palestinian terrorism.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers