The Minneapolis Star Tribune has discovered terrorism. This from Honest Reporting, with thanks to EPG:
For the past three years, no matter how monstrous the Palestinian attack on Israeli civilians, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has consistently refused to apply the word ‘terrorism.’ One of the paper’s editors explained their ‘evenhanded’ position in February, 2002:
In the case of the term ‘terrorist,’ other words ― ‘gunman,’ ‘separatist’ and ‘rebel,’ for example ― may be more precise and less likely to be viewed as judgmental.
We also take extra care to avoid the term ‘terrorist’ in articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of the emotional and heated nature of that dispute.
Now, suddenly, the largest paper in Minnesota has discovered ‘terrorism’ in the Mideast.
No, it wasn’t the horrific murder of 11 men, women and children on a Jerusalem bus on Jan. 29. That was described yet again in Star Tribune wire reports as the work of a ‘militant group’.
Here were the rule-breakers:
1) On Jan. 31, the Star Tribune ran a profile of a local priest, Michael Ovikian, who grew up in Jerusalem. The reporter describes Ovikian surviving the 1946 Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (emphasis added):
It was midday July 22, 1946. Ovikian was eating in the basement of the King David Hotel when Zionist terrorists struck… The Brits had fortified the hotel’s eight-story southern wing with barbed wire and tanks. But the terrorists sneaked in the northern end dressed as delivery people, their milk cans filled with TNT.
So the Star Tribune, which has maintained a ‘non-judgmental’ refusal to call Palestinian terror by name, determined that the King David bombing was, in fact, ‘Zionist terror’. This, despite the fact that (unlike any Palestinian terror) the Irgun issued specific warnings of the impending strike against the British command at the hotel, and that civilians were not intentionally targeted.
2) The Jan. 21 edition of the Star Tribune carried an AP article on IDF anti-Hezbollah actions, accompanied by a photo of the IDF dismantling a West Bank outpost and synagogue. The photo caption was careful to point out that the “synagogue was dedicated to the memory and teachings of American-Israeli Meir Kahane, whose anti-Arab Kach movement is on the U.S. State Department list of terror organizations,” but the article describes Hezbollah (which is on that same State Department list) as mere “guerrillas.” Moreover, the Star Tribune edited out the following passage from the original AP article, which described American support for the Israeli reprisal:
The United States blamed Hezbollah guerrillas for the escalation and cautioned Syria against giving support to the Lebanese militant group.
It seems that all the talk by the Star Tribune of sophisticated editorial policy was just a lot of hot air ― masking what is genuinely an anti-Israel double-standard.
A further indication of the double standard: The Star Tribune has a special section of its online edition devoted to world terrorism, which includes archived articles on terror threats and attacks in the US, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan – even Nigeria. But blowing up a Jerusalem commuter bus didn’t qualify.
These latest blunders extend the Star Tribune’s history of distorting the conflict. In 2002, after being caught red-handed, Star Tribune editors publicly admitted that the newspaper re-wrote wire service stories in a manner which radically distorted the meaning of a Human Rights Watch report on casualties in the Jenin refugee camp. The Star Tribune’s own ombudsman called this an “embarrassing wart.”
In response to the latest events, Minnesotans Against Terrorism clarified to HonestReporting that the issue is not whether Kach or the Irgun committed terrorist acts: “MAT’s primary concern is that when innocent civilians are specifically targeted for death and terror, that conduct and its perpetrators be accurately and objectively referred to as ‘terrorism’ regardless of the cause, and regardless of the nationality of the victims. The Star Tribune should be honest with its readers and call all attacks specifically targeted against innocent men, women and children by its proper name, ‘terrorism’, and not play favorites with specific groups or causes. . . .”
UPDATE: Star Tribune editors have recognized the problem with both articles above, apologized, and expressed their commitment to more balanced Mideast coverage. For the text of the Star Tribune’s response, see our weblog, BackSpin.