The Star-Tribune’s reader representative (read ombudsman) addresses the semantics of terror. Here she notes the paper’s inconsistencies:
In July, a month riddled with terrorism, examples abounded on how inconsistent this approach makes the language in this newspaper. The bombings July 7 in London were quickly labeled terrorist attacks by the wire services. But a July 12 suicide bombing outside a Netanya, Israel, shopping mall was attributed to “Islamic Jihad militants,” a group on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. On July 13 in Baghdad, a suicide bomber drove into a crowd of children clustered around U.S. soldiers handing out candy, killing 27 and wounding 50. In the first story this was referred to as “insurgency.” The first story after the July 22 attack near a Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, resort hotel where three car bombs killed 88 and injured 119 never described this act as terrorism or anything else, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. Subsequent coverage called it terror.
Hopefully, more news outlets will join the Dallas Morning News in coming up with a consistent style in which all acts of terrorism are referred to for what they are: terrorism.