Who is a Terrorist?

Reporters are more than verbal photographers. They are wordsmiths. If a reporter is biased, he/she will sculpt a story to project a particular image or opinion.

Last week the world witnessed several acts of terrorism — an IRA car bomb at the BBC offices in London, and two deadly Palestinian bomb attacks against Israeli civilians — one in a crowd in Netanya, the other a taxi in the Galilee. This prompted HonestReporting to ask: How were the two stories reported?

A survey of CNN and BBC indicates a pattern of anti-Israel bias. Both web sites labeled the IRA bombers “terrorists” — and then did verbal contortions to avoid calling Palestinians by the same incriminating appellation. Instead, Palestinian bombers are referred to as “militants.”

To save space, excerpts from the CNN and BBC are included below, in the text of the complaint letters. If you agree that this is biased reporting, write a letter in your own words, or cut-and-paste the critique below.

Also, check to see how the two bombing attacks were described in your local newspaper. If bias is present, respond accordingly.

**Please do not forward this page directly with HonestReporting’s comments.**

And don’t forget to preserve the integrity of the HonestReporting campaign by keeping your comments clean and respectful.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

HonestReporting.com


 

To the Editors of CNN:
eason.jordan@turner.com
tom.johnson@turner.com
community@cnn.com

Last week the world witnessed several acts of terrorism — an IRA car bomb at the BBC offices in London, and two deadly Palestinian bomb attacks against Israeli civilians — one in a crowd in Netanya, the other a taxi in the Galilee.

Could you please explain why CNN labels the IRA bombers “terrorists,” but you call Palestinian bombers by the far milder term “militants?”

For example:

“A dissident Irish Republican terror group is suspected of planting a bomb that exploded outside the British Broadcasting Corporation’s main office.”

But the terminology is different in CNN’s coverage of Palestinian bombings of Jewish civilians:

“In addition, one Israeli was killed Thursday and nine people were wounded when a Palestinian militant set off a bomb inside a taxi in northern Israel.”

“During the past five months of violence, Palestinian militants have set off several car bombs inside Israel, killing several people and wounding dozens.”

I read CNN because I expect it to be fair and impartial in reporting the news. So could you please explain to me your policy for applying these different terminologies — “terrorist” and “militant”?


 

To the Editor of BBC:
newsonline@bbc.co.uk

Last week the world witnessed several acts of terrorism — an IRA car bomb at the BBC offices in London, and two deadly Palestinian bomb attacks against Israeli civilians — one in a crowd in Netanya, the other a taxi in the Galilee.

Could you please explain why BBC labels the IRA bombers “terrorists,” but you call Palestinian bombers by the far milder term “militants?”

For example, your article on the IRA bombing carries the headline “BBC bomb prompts terror warning,” and the word “terror” (or its derivatives) is used 5 other times in the article.

But the terminology is different in BBC’s coverage of the Palestinian bombing of Jewish civilians:

“No organisation has admitted responsibility for the attack, although suspicion is falling on the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas following recent threats.”

I read BBC because I expect it to be fair and impartial in reporting the news. So could you please explain to me your policy for applying these different terminologies — “terrorist” and “militant”?

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