The Washington Post did what CAMERA has long requested in its January
6, 2005 report, Hamas Won Power In West Bank Vote; Local Elections May
Prove to Be Harbinger: it informed readers that Washington and Jerusalem
consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
From the West Bank, Post correspondents John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore
reported that today, the government in Obeidiyeh is in the hands of the
Islamic Resistance Movement, the radical Islamic organization known as Hamas
that is labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. and Israeli governments [emphasis
The Post also did not alter terrorist to
militant in paraphrasing Israeli sources:
While Hamas leaders acknowledge that
the organization ... has conducted dozens of suicide bombing attacks against
Israeli civilians, they say a key objective of the group is operating a vast
network of social welfare programs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Israeli
officials say they make no distinction between the various wings of Hamas,
asserting that its political and social activities are directed at building
support for terrorist operations [emphasis added].
That the Post got it right should not merit special attention.
Including relevant information and accurately citing sources is basic
journalism. However, the newspaper often avoids full disclosure regarding Hamas
and other Palestinian terrorist groups when reporting Arab-Israeli news.
However, Hamas Won Power In West Bank Vote continued to obscure
the reality of Fatah (Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine).
Anderson and Moore correctly referred to Fatah as the late Yasser Arafats
movement, but reiterated the Posts chronic description
of that movement as a political party. They were silent on Fatahs nearly
five decade involvement in terrorism, including the 1973 murders of two
American diplomats and a Belgian envoy in Khartoum and todays
numerous attacks by Fatahs Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade. The Al-Aksa Martyrs
Brigade, like Hamas, is listed by the United States as a terrorist
Back to the Past
Rocking the Vote in Gaza, West Bank; Campaigns Fire Up Palestinians
for Presidential Poll by Moore and Anderson in the January 7 edition of
the Post indicated that the previous days candor regarding Hamas
was an aberration.
The pair reported that presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas was
endorsed by the Fatah movements armed wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
which has waged a deadly campaign of suicide bombings against Israelis.
Again, they failed to tell readers that the U.S. government designated the
Brigades as a terrorist organization. To do so might have been awkward since
they described the Fatah movement as the dominant Palestinian
political party, founded by Yasser Arafat, and American readers
dont commonly think of armed wings that specialize in murder
when they read the words political party.
In Rocking the Vote in Gaza, West Bank the Post also says
that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has supplied
bodyguards on the campaign trail for Mustafa Barghouti, another
Palestinian presidential candidate. They do not inform readers that the PFLP
also is listed by the United States as a terrorist organization or that it,
like Hamas and Fatahs Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, has claimed responsibility
for acts of anti-Israeli terrorism.
The Posts correspondents also revert to the papers
favorite euphemism for terrorist militant. They note that Abbas
angered militant organizations this week when he demanded that they stop
firing at Israelis, and that the presidential candidates must avoid
alienating militant [emphasis added] groups with calls to
curb the violence.
Closer to Home ...
Its not that the Post finds the U.S. terrorism list
unnewsworthy. The Dec. 27, 2004 report Islamic Group Banned by Many Is
Not on U.S. Terrorist List, by staff writer David Ottoway, focused on the
problematic exclusion of the Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb ut-Tahrir
al-Islami), a group outlawed in all Arab countries and much of
Central Asia. Ottaways use of militant to describe the group
appears appropriate, since the group is not held responsible by Washington for
terrorist acts nor its inflammatory rhetoric for inciting them. But by this
standard, Hamas, Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, and the PFLP do not qualify for the
And not a militant is mentioned in a January 3 front-page article,
Terrorism Fight Prods NSA to Look Beyond its Fortress, by Post
staff writer Christian Davenport. Here considering potential threats to
Americans, not actual attacks like those by Palestinians against Israelis
the paper reports on terrorists, global
terrorism, and bioterrorists.