Associated Press Won’t Let Reporters Call Hamas a Terrorist Organization
Washington Free Beacon’s review of the standards for the Associated Press found that it instructs journalists and organizations who rely on their style guide not to refer to Hamas in terms of a terrorist group.
In its “Israel-Hamas Thematic Guide”, the news outlet explains that “terrorism and terrorist are no longer used for specific actions or group, but only in direct quotes.” This will impact how dozens regional newspapers and national outlets, like Politico, report on the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Hamas is an islamist militant group that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and Jews in the world. Dozens of countries, such as the United States and European Union, classify it as a terrorist organisation. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Hamas has committed hundreds of terrorist acts against civilians.
The outlet suggests that journalists refer to Hamas members as “militants” instead of calling them terrorists. Hamas killed innocent civilians and children earlier this month in an unprovoked attack against Israel.
The Associated Press Style Guide states that “terms like Hamas fighters are acceptable, depending on context.”
The Associated Press has not responded to a comment request.
The Associated Press has made a number of odd decisions, including sharing an office in Gaza with Hamas. The AP’s office in Gaza, which it had occupied for 15 years, has been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes since May 2021. Israeli Defense Force said the building was home to Hamas operatives, weapons and an Islamic Jihad office, another terrorist group based in Gaza.
In a press release at the time, AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt stated that he was “shocked and horrified” by the Israeli military’s decision to target and destroy AP’s Gaza bureau as well as other news organizations.
A source from the Israeli Defense Force said that Associated Press journalists were aware of their neighbors. The Atlantic reported that in 2014, Associated Press staffers at the Gaza office were able to see terrorists positioned next door launch rockets towards Israel. Despite the close proximity, The Associated Press did not report the rocket launches that endangered the staff of the group and the nearby civilians.
The Atlantic reports that “Hamas fighters would storm into the AP Gaza bureau, threaten staff and the AP would not report it.” The Atlantic reported that “cameramen outside Shifa Hospital, Gaza City, would film civilian casualties, and then turn their cameras off when they saw wounded or dead fighters.” This helped Hamas to maintain the impression that only civilians died.
The Associated Press has tried to influence media coverage by policing the language for many years. The outlet issued new immigration guidelines shortly after President Joe Biden assumed office.
The Associated Press announced in March 2021 that journalists would no longer use the term “surge” when describing large numbers of illegal aliens crossing the southern border. In a Washington Post opinion piece, an immigration activist explained that the decision was made as a result of pressure from the left.
The Associated Press has suggested that outlets use “milder words” such as “unrest” to describe riots following the looting, destruction and violence in the wake George Floyd’s passing during summer 2020.