Militant JournalismJuly 3, 2003 12:00 by ManagingTeam
HonestReporting has on numerous occasions critiqued the media’s widespread use of the term “militant” to describe Palestinian terrorists. A Wednesday Washington Post editorial provides an ideal illustration of the precise problem with the term.
The Post editorial repeatedly calls Palestinian terrorist organizations “militant groups,” and
then — sandwiched among those references — refers to “militant Jewish settlers.” The editorial claims these two groups constitute “the extremists on both sides.”
As noted by James Taranto’s weblog, the term “militant” has two separate dictionary definitions:
1)   engaged in warfare or combat
2)   aggressively active (as in a cause)
A Hamas leader may be (generously) granted the first definition, and some Jewish settlers fit the second definition. But by calling both groups “militants” in the same editorial breath, the Post entirely eliminates this distinction, and implies equivalence between mass civilian murderers and dwellers on a disputed land.
Would a Washington Post editorial ever equate a militant environmentalist with Osama bin Laden?
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— SECURITY FENCE —
The Atlantic Monthly profiled a Rand Corporation study of “top ten international-security developments that aren’t getting the attention they deserve.” Heading the list: the security wall that Israel is presently constructing to protect against West Bank terrorist incursions.
Though recognizing that “[t]he logic behind the wall is unassailable,” the article claims that the wall could “deepen Palestinian rage and enmity, of course, prompting escalated mortar and ground-to-ground missile attacks against targets inside Israel. The wall could also prompt further attacks on Israelis overseas, like the suicide bombing last November of a Mombasa hotel filled with Israeli tourists and the accompanying attempt to shoot down an Israeli chartered plane.”
The Atlantic, it seems, believes it credible to claim that Israel — by attempting to stave off terror against its civilians — bears responsibility for future attacks.
Furthermore, as editorialized in the Jerusalem Post, “Israel is not building the fence, [in effect] the Palestinians are. It took thousands of attacks and dozens of dead before Israel began to contemplate building it, and even now it is being built reluctantly.”
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