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Media Analyses





Israel, Terror, and the New York Times


Following the Palestinian terror attack on June 8th in Tel Aviv, in which four Israelis were murdered and at least six were wounded, a New York Times article used the word root "terror" fourteen times, including "terrorists" and "terrorism."

But that New York Times article was not about the attack against Israelis, it was about a hypothetical attack in France, as the country prepares for Euro 2016, the European Championship soccer tournament:
 
France bracing

Beyond the headline, that article:

• Noted that French officials are taking "all possible steps to prevent and deter terrorist attacks"

• Noted that France had been recently "hit by two major terrorist attacks"

• Noted that "Sporting events have long attracted terrorists"

• Noted in a picture caption that "Fan zones, like this one in Nice, are considered possible targets for terrorists."

What about the Times article about the real attack in Israel? Let's start with the headline:
 
Palestinian gunmen

Not Palestinian Terrorists – Palestinian Gunmen, and the article followed a similar path. While the lede referred to the attack "reigniting fears of terrorism," that was it. The attackers were not referred to as terrorists, and the attack was not referred to as terrorism. Instead the Times used phrases like:

• "police identified the attackers" (not terrorists)

• "Security officers wounded one of the gunmen" (again, not terrorists)

• "The second gunman was arrested" (not second terrorist)

• "Tel Aviv has suffered a number of deadly attacks" (not deadly terrorist attacks)

• A witness "heard the shots and could see one of the attackers" (not one of the terrorists)

And this refusal to use the "terror" word to refer to deadly attacks against Israelis is no aberration at the Times. Indeed, in a followup article on June 9, Israel Imposes Travel Restrictions on Palestinians After Tel Aviv Attack, the Times also failed to use the terror word (except when quoting Israeli officials), instead using words like "gunmen" and "assailants."

So hypothetical attacks that France hopes to prevent during the upcoming soccer championship are terrorism, and those who would carry them out are terrorists. But real attacks against Israelis – like shooting up a restaurant and mall and murdering real people – are not terrorist attacks.

One wonders, what would a Palestinian have to do for the Times to call him a terrorist?

If when covering Israel the Times can't bring itself to do something as simple as calling a terrorist a terrorist, what does that refusal once again reveal about the paper's mindset and agenda?


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