Opinion: Columnists

Why can't the Associated Press call a terrorist a 'terrorist'?

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Gregory Kane,Columnists,Kenyan McDuffie,Immigration,Terrorism,Analysis,Media,Nigeria

Can we all agree on at least two things?

Let's agree to call American citizens who end up fighting for terrorist organizations “so-called Americans.” And let's agree that terrorists should be called exactly that -- terrorists.

Not “militants.” Not “extremists.” Terrorists. T-E-R-R-O-R-I-S-T-S.

More on that later. For now, let’s talk about those so-called Americans who reportedly participated with Somalian terrorists in the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left at least 67 people dead.

Preliminary news reports — none of them confirmed — claimed that at least two of the attackers might be American citizens.

That prompted at least one network to send a reporter to a Midwestern city to interview Somali immigrants whose offspring returned to Somalia to fight for terrorist groups like al Shabab, which has claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attack.

The distraught parents said they don’t know why their progeny ended up joining terrorist organizations, but the fault isn’t the parents'.

It’s ours. I’ve written it in this column before, and I’ll repeat it, because it bears being repeated and being repeated often: We let far too many people into this country that don’t like this country.

Those so-called Americans that might have terrorized the Westgate Mall — or joined other terrorist groups — are Americans by accident of birth, a loophole in our 14th Amendment, which says that anybody born here is automatically an American citizen.

But an accident of birth doesn’t make you an American. You have to have some connection to the country, some appreciation of its laws, ideals and mores to make you an American.

Those so-called Americans fighting for foreign terrorist organizations don’t have that connection. In fact, they despise, not revere, the country where they were born and which gave them automatic citizenship at birth.

They’re so-called Americans who, in essence, renounced their American citizenship when they chose to take up arms for a foreign terrorist organization. And speaking of terrorists, can we get the politically correct muckety-mucks at the Associated Press to call them that?

Here’s how the AP referred to members of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram in the headline of a recent news story: "Militants slaughter sleeping students in Nigeria.”

Militants? So “slaughtering sleeping students” is now an act of militancy, not terrorism?

Here’s the first paragraph of the AP story:

Suspected Islamic extremists attacked an agricultural college in the dead of night, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dormitories and torching classrooms, the school’s provost said of an ongoing northeastern Nigeria’s ongoing Islamic uprising.

I’ll attribute the horrible phrasing “an ongoing northeastern Nigeria’s ongoing Islamic uprising” to the paucity of copy editors that afflicts all news organizations, including, apparently, the AP.

But discerning readers will notice more than that. They’ll notice that, as in the headline, the AP avoided using the word “terrorist” to describe members of Boko Haram and their heinous, horrendous act.

According to the AP, Boko Haram terrorists are “extremists.” Their reign of terror in Nigeria is no such thing. It’s an “uprising.”

In a paragraph near the close of the story, the AP reporter — no doubt following the guidelines and wishes set down by his bosses — rehashes the “uprising”/”militant” nonsense.

“Northeastern Nigeria is under a military state of emergency to battle an Islamic uprising prosecuted by Boko Haram militants who have killed more than 1,700 people since 2010 in their quest to install an Islamic state, though half the country’s 160 million citizens are Christian.”

Earlier this year, AP editors went overboard with the political correctness by banning the term “illegal immigrants.” Now, the organization can’t seem to call a terrorist organization exactly what it is.

That would be “terrorist organization,” friends at AP.

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
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Gregory Kane

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