Joseph Simonson at the Washington Free Beacon reported the Associated Press stylebook czars are telling their reporters to avoid “the T word” of terrorism in their reporting, because the subject is “intense” and terms should be “more precise.” These are the same geniuses that think it’s “precise” to blur the gender binary: “A person’s sex and gender are usually assigned at birth by parents or attendants and can turn out to be inaccurate.”
Their latest “Israel-Hamas Topical Guide” states:
The terms terrorism and terrorist have become politicized, and often are applied inconsistently. Because they can be used to label such a wide range of actions and events, and because the debate around them is so intense, detailing what happened is more precise and better serves audiences.
Therefore, the AP is not using the terms for specific actions or groups, other than in direct quotations or when attributed to authorities or others. Instead, we describe specific atrocities, massacres, bombings, assassinations and other such actions.
Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by dozens of countries, including the United States and the European Union. But AP prefers the M-word, “militants.”
AP uses this term to describe Hamas, in keeping with the Webster’s New World College Dictionary definition: ready and willing to fight; especially, vigorous or aggressive in supporting or promoting a cause; and Merriam-Webster: aggressively active (as in a cause).
Terms such as Hamas fighters, attackers or combatants are also acceptable depending on the context.
Do not use the term Hamas soldiers or Hamas resistance, other than in direct quotations.
If you can see much difference between “fighters” and “soldiers,” maybe AP is making sense to you. In their section on Hamas, they see the group clearly, despite their resistance to the T-word:
Hamas has always espoused violence as a means to liberate occupied Palestinian territories. The group has vowed to annihilate Israel and has been responsible for many suicide bombings and other deadly attacks on civilians and Israeli soldiers.
In other news, the British Broadcasting Corporation is backing away from its ban on the “T word,” as Caroline Frost at Deadline explained: “the BBC will no longer call Hamas ‘militants,’ but instead characterize the Palestinian group as ‘a proscribed terrorist organization by the UK government.’”
The Times of London newspaper quotes an unnamed member of parliament saying: “The BBC are losing people because they aren’t behaving in a way that meets the majority of viewers’ expectations of them. Not to describe Hamas’s actions as a terrorist attack was pretty pathetic and that has undermined so much of what has followed.”