There are many disturbing trends that I have noticed in the aftermath of Hamas’ recent terrorist attack against Israel. One of the main ones is the language being used to describe it.
The war between Israel and Hamas has a very heavy information warfare component–one that Hamas seems to be winning, largely due to rampant collusion from Western media. Take, for example, the words used to describe what happened. The perpetrators are described as “militants” or “gunmen,” not “terrorists.” When someone died at their hands, they were “executed,” not “murdered.”
In a war of words, words are the decisive weapon. So the words we choose to use to describe what’s happening between Israel and Hamas matter. The US State Department seems to be able to get it right. Why can’t major news outlets?
In large part, it’s because of progressive politics. “Oppressed” people, like the Palestinians, can never be the aggressor. They can only be victims, no matter what they do, or what others do in their name. “Oppressors,” like the Israelis, are fair game, for literally anything. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” sure, I guess, but I think most rational human beings would call people who murder, rape, burn, shoot, and kidnap average citizens “terrorists.” And most of us aren’t afraid to say it.
…but not everyone is willing to do so, especially in the leftist press. For example, when the BBC was recently called out over their choice to reject the word “terrorist” to describe… well… terrorists, they decided to double down. That’s because, you see, “It’s simply not the BBC’s job to tell people who to support and who to condemn.” But that appears to only hold true for people or organizations that the BBC likes, or at least to those who it’s OK to dislike. They certainly held no compunctions about directing condemnation towards, say, President Trump, doing so early and often during the Trump Administration.
They were happy to rationalize away the way they dropped their illusion of impartiality in reporting and condemning people who were doing things they didn’t like, by saying things like the then-US president was “subverting democracy.” But that was OK, because rules are only for people you don’t like. Here is the response they gave to accusations that they were actively campaigning in favor of Mr. Trump’s political enemies:
So, no evidence in then-President Trump’s claims. But in actual cases of terrorism, committed by actual terrorists, the BBC says it’s “not their job” to report accurately.
Similarly, the Yale Daily News, no stranger to controversial opinions, recently published an article titled “Is Yalies4Palestine a hate group?” as well as another called “Stop justifying terrorism.” In both of the articles, the authors, each an undergrad student at Yale University, provide a list of the atrocities committed by the Hamas
fighters terrorists, among which was the crime of rape. In an inexplicable and unconscionable move, YDN’s editors first decided to edit out the references to rape on the grounds that “there was no proof” that rapes had occurred, despite easily-found evidence that it did. The YDN later issued a groveling apology about altering the original articles.
The decision to edit out content in an op-ed is perplexing. Is it simply too hard to believe that terrorist organizations that relentlessly murder anyone they come across, and are doctrinally dedicated to
executing murdering all Jews, are above a thing like rape? And why would you edit out someone’s opinion… isn’t that what an op-ed is for in the first place?
It would be one thing if news outlets were at least consistent in their coverage. But the same kinds of news outlets that hesitate about reporting easily-verified accounts of atrocities like beheadings and rapes when they are committed against Israel “colonizers” fell all over themselves to report how an “Israeli strike” killed “hundreds” of Palestinians, only find out that they entire thing was–shocker–a lie perpetrated by Hamas. The truth of the matter was that no hospital was ever destroyed, and the casualties (which were definitely not the 500 reported) were the result of… wait for it… a terrorist rocket that went astray.
The difference between the two is stark–on the one hand, you have news outlets blindly believing self-serving story coming from a propaganda wing of a known terrorist organization without any evidence whatsoever (the hospital story). And on the other hand, you have news outlets refusing to believe the evidence that is in front of their eyes (the reported rapes). So, “fighters” or “militants” will carry out “executions” of innocent people, but they don’t rape or lie. And they definitely, definitely don’t do anything like that to women, children, or the elderly. A senior member of Hamas said so. So it must be true.
Lest anyone think that “this is only a thing on the political Left,” here is an excerpt from a Fox News article titled “Israel air force reveals note Hamas fighter allegedly carried during October 7 attack:”
So although the headline incorrectly described the Hamas individual as a “fighter,” they got it right inside the article with the accurate use of the word “terrorists.” But then the article refers to “a girl being executed.”
Folks, that girl–God rest her soul–wasn’t “executed.” She wasn’t tried, judged, and sentenced by an appropriate legal authority. She was murdered in cold blood by a terrorist.
So, again, why are all of these news outlets, including ones like Fox which are purportedly on the political right, so afraid to use accurate and precise words to describe events like Hamas terrorists carrying out murders?
I know some journalists will probably say something along the lines of, “well those are the rules.” Well, journalists, you make the rules. No one is forcing you to church up the language that we use to describe evil people and the actions they carry out. No one is making you use words to make people better than what they are. No one is forcing you to side with terrorists when they murder innocent victims.
And, unfortunately, no one seems to be willing to try to compel you to be better.
Scott Faith is a veteran of a half-dozen combat deployments and has served in several different Special Operations units over the course of his Army career. Scott’s writing focuses largely on veterans’ issues, but he is also a strong proponent of Constitutional rights and has a deep interest in politics. He often allows other veterans who request anonymity to publish their work under his byline. Scott welcomes story ideas and feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.