Monday, February 28, 2005

NYT: Terrorism or Military Action?

The New York Times reports that a suicide bombing in Iraq today killed at least 122 people:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 28 - A suicide car bomber drove into a line of about 400 volunteers for the Iraqi National Guard and police force today in Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing at least 122 people and wounding at least 170, an official at the Interior Ministry said.
Much as I loathe the oppression that the former Baathists and their al-Qaeda allies stand for, this was a legitimate insurgency action, directed against combatants. Likewise, actions against American troops cannot be considered terrorism. The NYT is correct in calling them "insurgents" in this case.

But here, the NYT refers to terrorists as "gunmen", even though they opened fire on civilians in a bakery:
In Baghdad, gunmen opened fire inside a bakery, killing two people and wounding a third.
And in this report about the recent Tel Aviv night club suicide bombing, the only mention of "terror" or "terrorists" comes in attributed quotes. The NYT should have called a spade a spade.

Finally, in this story, a man who has cut off the heads of helpless captives on camera is referred to as, "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who is Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq..."

Just who is the Gray Lady afraid of offending? The terrorists? The New York Times' conventions in these examples are irresponsible, illogical, and actually lend legitimacy to terrorist organizations. They should rethink their editorial policy.