BBC Terminology: Mitigating Terror
April 30, 2013 11:06
by Simon Plosker
The attacker stabbed the Israeli, grabbed his weapon, and according to some accounts shot him at close range. He then fired at nearby border police, who returned fire and succeeded in subduing him. The victim, who was said to be about 30 years old, was declared dead at the scene after MDA paramedics’ resuscitation efforts failed. The attacker was evacuated to Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva in moderate condition.
Now look at how the BBC reports on the attack:
The opening paragraph:
An Israeli settler has been killed by a Palestinian at a bus stop in the northern West Bank, police say.
Notice how the Israeli victim is described as a “settler” in both the headline and the article. If the BBC is prepared to use politicized terminology to describe an Israeli civilian then presumably, shouldn’t it also describe the Palestinian in similar terms for consistency?
While the BBC should refer to the Palestinian as a terrorist, it is noteworthy that the attacker is not even referred to as a “militant” or “activist.” He is simply a Palestinian. Yet, by referring to the Israeli as a “settler,” the BBC is already acknowledging that the Palestinian must have been motivated to carry out the attack for nationalist rather than criminal reasons.
Evidently, murdering someone for nationalistic reasons is not an act of terrorism, extremism or militancy.
The BBC’s indifference to Israeli victims of terror who happen to live in the West Bank reached its nadir in March 2011 when a mother, father and three of their children, including a three-month old baby, were stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank settlement of Itamar.
Looks like nothing has changed at the BBC then.
WHERE’S THE CONSISTENCY?
Contrast the above with another piece of breaking news covered by the BBC at exactly the same time:
The report states:
A Palestinian militant has been killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City.
Officials from Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, said the victim was Haytham al-Misshal, a member of a Salafist jihadist group.
So while the BBC is prepared to acknowledge that membership of a jihadist group is sufficient to be referred to as a “militant,” the act of actually murdering an Israeli in a politically motivated attack is not.
Take action now and demand that the BBC acknowledges terror and treat all Israeli victims of terror as human beings. Send your complaints through the BBC Complaints website – www.bbc.co.uk/complaints. For detailed instructions on how to navigate the BBC Complaints website, click here.
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