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The deliberate killing of unarmed civilians is terrorism
I just sent a response to J.W. from NPR who was kind enough to reply to a message I sent them on 4/27.
Danielle Sheffi, 5, killed by Palestinian terrorists on 4/27/02
NPR described her murder as "the killing of
an Israeli settler by a Palestinian militant"
J.W. pointed me to an article written by NPR's Ombudsman, Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, in which he rationalizes the use of the word "militant" instead of "terrorist" to describe the vicious killings of Israeli civilians.
By choosing not to use the word “terrorist”, NPR is doing exactly what he wishes to avoid. NPR is choosing sides: it is giving a clear advantage to Palestinians that choose violence instead of peace, such as the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas, and other terrorist groups. By using the word “militant”, NPR is describing their deliberate acts of killing innocent civilians as legal actions of rebellion.
I copy my full response, and the whole thread below.
From: David Melle
Hello J. W.,
Thank you for your response to my message about the inaccurate way NPR reports Palestinian terrorist attacks. I searched for the article you mentioned, and found one where Mr. Dvorkin discusses issues of language and terminology, and in particular the word “terrorist”. I found it at:
Are They 'Terrorists,' 'Gunmen,' or 'Guerrillas'?
Let’s first define terrorism. The FBI web site gives the following definition:
"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives"
Let’s now look at the main point that Mr. Dvorkin is trying to make:
“Sadly, nouns and adjectives are also weapons in this war. While the term "terrorist" may be accurate in many cases, it also has an extra-journalistic role in delegitimating one side and affirming the other. It is not NPR's role to do this. NPR has an obligation to provide responsible and reliable reporting by describing with accuracy and fairness events that listeners may choose to endorse or deplore as they see fit”
Mr. Dvorkin has a point, but by choosing not to use the word “terrorist”, NPR is doing exactly what he wishes to avoid. NPR is choosing sides: it is giving a clear advantage to Palestinians that choose violence instead of peace, such as the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas, and other terrorist groups. By using the word “militant”, NPR is describing their deliberate acts of killing innocent civilians as legal actions of rebellion. I completely disagree with Mr. Dvorkin and his conclusions.
>I will share your criticisms with KQED's editorial staff. I hope you will continue to listen.
Thanks again for following up on this issue. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my original message, the murder of Danielle Shefi, a 5 year old Israeli girl was described on NPR as “the killing of an Israeli settler by a Palestinian militant”. To learn more about Danielle Shefi, please check:
I don’t think Danielle even knew what a settler was.
To tell you the truth, I love many of the programs on NPR, including “This American Life”, “All Things Considered”, and KQED’s local programs such as “Forum” with Michael Krasny. For this reason I have always supported NPR and KQED, and have participated in the pledge drives, twice, sometimes three times a year. Unfortunately, I can no longer support a radio station or a news network that has a policy of finding reasons not to describe the above murder as terrorism.
Have a good day,
Dear Mr. Melle:
My name is David Melle and I live in San Francisco, CA. I have been a strong supporter of NPR and the local public station, KQED. I always make my contributions, 2-3 times a year.
I am very disappointed in the way NPR has been covering the events in Israel and the Middle East. Particularly disturbing is your latest trend of calling murderous Palestinian terrorists by the mild term militants .
For example, today, Palestinian terrorists infiltrated an Israeli town and killed 4 civilians, including a 5-year-old girl while she was sleeping. I just heard KQED/NPR report it as follows:
"Two Palestinian militants entered an Israeli Settlement. They went from house to house and killed four Israelis."
The following troubles me:
For the real story, see:
Terrorists murder four in Adora
I have decided to stop supporting NPR: please do not ask for donations and do not send me any NPR material anymore.
Furthermore I will send a copy of this letter to my representatives and do what I can to stop the transfer of public funds to NPR and KQED.
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(According to digits.com)