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Despite terror rocket attacks on Israel, ABC, CBS, NBC won’t call attackers ‘terrorists’

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    Nov. 15, 2012: Israel barraged the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and shelling and killed the Hamas military chief in a targeted strike, launching a campaign aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Islamic militants.AP

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    Nov. 16, 2012: A Palestinian Hamas militant walks in the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.AP

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    Nov. 15, 2012: A rocket launched by Palestinian militants towards Israel makes its way from the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel.AP

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    A woman photographs Israeli soldiers on top an armored personel carrier close to the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel,Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israel's prime minister says the army is prepared for a "significant widening" of its operation in the Gaza Strip. Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Thursday that Israel has "made it clear" it won't tolerate continued rocket fire on its civilians. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)The Associated Press2012

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    Nov. 14, 2012: Egyptians chant slogans against latest Israel airstrikes in Gaza during a protest in Cairo.AP

Israel was attacked by more than 200 rockets on Nov. 15 by a known terror organization – known by everyone but ABC, CBS and NBC.

Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, was declared a “foreign terrorist organization” more than 15 years ago by the United States. But not one rocket attack story on the network morning or evening news shows called the terrorists anything other than “militants.”

In 61 percent of the stories (8 out of 13) in 2012, the three networks went to great pains to avoid calling Hamas terrorists. Instead, they were “militants” with “militant Islamic leaders”

The State Department is very clear on Hamas. “Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997, HAMAS has carried out attacks – such as suicide bombings, rocket launches, improvised explosive device attacks, and shootings – against civilian targets inside Israel.”

As America’s strongest Mideast ally faces a potentially major land battle, the broadcast networks are too politically correct to call Hamas by a name even the Obama administration still uses – “terrorists.”


On Nov. 15, all three networks covered the story as the conflict heated up considerably. ABC’s Alex Marquardt delivered a thoroughly one-sided piece calling Hamas “militants” three separate times. Those included: “Hamas and other militant groups,” “Gaza militants firing on Israel” and Israel targeting “militant groups, most notably Hamas.”

Of course, his report was from terrorist-controlled Gaza, so perhaps that influenced his biased coverage – even referring to Tel Aviv as “Israel’s commercial capital.” Jerusalem is Israel’s actual capital, but pro-Palestinian nations don’t acknowledge it.

CBS was also bad, with two mentions of Hamas “militants” that night. Correspondent Allen Pizzey depicted the “tit-for-tat violence” as “Hamas militants kept firing rockets.” Anchor Scott Pelley described Gaza as “the tiny strip of land that’s home to Palestinians and the militant group Hamas,” as if the two are different. Hamas is the formal government of Gaza.

CBS and NBC at least mentioned the word “terror,” with both networks including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referring to “Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza.” NBC’s Martin Fletcher also used the expression “terror in Israel” to describe the rocket attacks. ABC made no mention of the word.

The night before, Pelley said the Hamas leader killed by Israel “was blamed for numerous terror attacks.” But he wasn’t never called a “terrorist.” Instead he was leading “Gaza militants.”

On NBC, Fletcher described how Israel had killed “the military commander of Hamas.” “Ahmad al-Jabari is, was top of Israel`s hit list for years, accused of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis. He was killed on the spot,” said Fletcher. But of course, a leader of a terrorist group wasn’t a terrorist. “Israeli leaders say it is the start of a new offensive, including assassinations against militant Islamic leaders,” Fletcher added.

As America’s strongest Mideast ally faces a potentially major land battle, the broadcast networks are too politically correct to call Hamas by a name even the Obama administration still uses – “terrorists.”

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.