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December 19, 2005

Terrorist Group "After All"

Turn to page four of the International Herald Tribune today, and you won't miss the striking contrast. One article, by the Associated Press, is upfront about Hamas' goals and actions. The other, by the New York Times' Steven Erlanger, obscures them.

The Associated Press article, about European Union threats to cut aid to Palestinians if Hamas wins elections next month, clearly identifies Hamas in the second paragraph:

... Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and remains committed to Israel's destruction ...

Erlanger, on the other hand, provides a more, well, delicate, description of Hamas. For instance, in the 23rd and final paragraph of his story about the political ascendency of Hamas, he adopts this euphemistic, or even poetic, way of describing the group's goal to wipe Israel off the map:

In any case, a successful Hamas would have to adapt to a new role of responsibility, while accepting the previous commitment of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to a negotiated, two-state solution with Israel, even if it insists that Israel will be gone in the fullness of time.

And here's how Erlanger handles those hundreds of Israelis blown to smitherings in suicide bombings, as mentioned by the AP:

. . . Hamas, with its reputation for piety, its social-welfare network and its military wing, which carried out numerous attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians (paragraph 5).

Notice there is no mention of suicide bombings, which most readers take to means as terrorism, just vague "attacks," directed first at soldiers, and then at civilians (all the better to bolster that "militant" tag.)

It's not that Erlanger doesn't have space to work in all these minor details in more upfront language. He does include other snipets about Hamas:

... Hamas -- created in 1987 as the fighting arm of the religious Muslim Brotherhood (paragraph 8).

Hamas, which believes that politics and armed resistance must go hand in hand, may never give up its "right to resist" or its weapons... (paragraph 23).

Armed resistance? Would that be the blowing up of dancing teenagers, children in strollers, and entire families? Appallingly, it seems that the Hamas code words for terrorism are also becoming a regular part of the Times' lexicon.

The New York Times version of Erlanger's story, which is slightly longer, buries this tidbit in the 19th paragraph. (It didn't appear at all in the IHT):

Hamas, after all, has carried out many attacks against Israel, and it has been designated a terrorist group by Israel, Europe and the United States.

For more on the Times' whitewashing of Hamas, see Mediacrity's recent post.

Posted by TS at December 19, 2005 07:14 AM


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