December 15, 2008

You can't call them Nazis...they have a clinic!

This piece by the "Public Editor" of the NYT, Separating the Terror and the Terrorists, is about the reluctance of the Times to use the word "terrorist."

The namby-pamby-ism is just amazin'. I could write a long thoughtful screed on why obvious terrorists are not called terrorists, but really all it takes is a sentence. The Times, and most of our lefty "journalists," are like the isolationists before WWII trying to write about Nazi Germany. If you tell the truth (then or now) you are lining up for war alongside the United States and the Jews.

....The issue comes up most often in connection with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and to the dismay of supporters of Israel--and sometimes supporters of the other side, denouncing Israeli military actions--The Times is sparing in its use of 'terrorist' when reporting on that complex struggle.

The reluctance carried over when the Mumbai attacks began. Graham Bowley, who was writing for a Times blog, The Lede, said, "I'm aware very much of the sensitivity around the word, so I knew they had to be 'attackers'�" until the paper knew more. One of his editors, Andrea Kannapell, told me she was much more focused in the early hours on who the people were and what they were doing than on what to call them.

Readers like 'Bill' were having none of it, and as Jim Roberts, the editor of the Web site, read their comments, he began to think they had a point. 'Indiscriminately shooting civilians seems on its very face to be an act of terror,' he said. How, Roberts wondered, could you separate the act from the actor?

He conferred with Kannapell, Paul Winfield, the news editor, and Phil Corbett, Winfield's deputy. Winfield talked with Ian Fisher, a deputy foreign editor. 'Terrorist' became an acceptable term in the Mumbai story. 'We jointly decided we didn't need to be throwing the word around flagrantly, but we didn't need to run away from it, either,' Roberts said.

Ilsa and Lisa Klinghoffer, whose father, Leon, was shot and thrown from a cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists in 1985, wrote a letter to the editor asking why The Times was referring to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the shadowy group that apparently orchestrated the Mumbai attacks, as a 'militant group.' "When people kill innocent civilians for political gain, they should be called 'terrorists,'�" the sisters said.

Susan Chira, the foreign editor, said The Times may eventually put that label on Lashkar, but reporters are still trying to learn more about it. 'Our instinct is to proceed with caution, not rushing to label any group with the word terrorist before we have a deeper understanding of its full dimensions,' she said.

To the consternation of many, The Times does not call Hamas a terrorist organization, though it sponsors acts of terror against Israel. Hamas was elected to govern Gaza. It provides social services and operates charities, hospitals and clinics. Corbett said: 'You get to the question: Somebody works in a Hamas clinic � is that person a terrorist? We don't want to go there.' I think that is right.....

My advice to Lashkar-e-Taiba: open a clinic. That will give the Times cover for its appeasement.

Posted by John Weidner at December 15, 2008 6:55 AM
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