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Media Analyses

Confusing Murder and Martyrdom at ABC

In an otherwise informative report on ABC World News Tonight (Jan. 14) about Raeem Al-Raiyshi, the female suicide bomber who killed four Israelis after duping guards to let her bypass the metal detectors at a checkpoint, correspondent Hilary Brown referred to Raiyshi’s choice of “martydom”over motherhood. “It seems she loved martyrdom more [than her children],” Ms. Brown concluded.

Ms. Brown had quoted the terrorist as saying “I was hoping to be the first woman, where parts of my body can fly everywhere. I’m taking revenge against the Jews.” It would have been more accurate for the correspondent  to say “It seems she loved murdering Jews more [than she loved her children].”

The point Ms. Brown was obviously trying to convey was that despite the suicide bomber’s professed love for her children, she preferred to abandon them in order to kill Israelis. However, Ms. Brown’s unfortunate choice of words mimics Palestinian rhetoric that glorifies murder and terrorism, portraying the perpetrators as exalted resistance fighters and martyrs.

ABC compounded the correspondent’s poor choice of words by titling her Web site report on the suicide bomber “From Mom to Martyr.”

Palestinians may view suicide bombers as “martyrs” and their actions as “martyrdom operations” but a responsible news organization should differentiate between a murderer and a martyr.

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