By Christopher B. Daly
What happened in Charleston this week meets the literal definition of terrorism.
Here’s a dictionary definition (from Dictionary.com):
1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
Here’s the FBI’s definition:
“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:
- Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
- Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
- Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
So, why do the media find it so difficult to call it an act of domestic terrorism?
The NYTimes was willing to discuss the issue but not to use the term in its main coverage.
The most extreme case (as so often happens) involved Fox News. The Thursday morning episode of the show “Fox and Friends” hit a new low — in which the hosts and guests strained to frame the violent assault by a white man seeking to take his country back as an assault on religion and an attack on Christians. Wha?
Here’s a brilliant analysis by Larry Wilmore, who is getting better by the week. (courtesy of Comedy Central and TPM).
One response to “Why is it so hard to talk about Charleston?”
I suspect much of the media, including the Times, was much quicker to use the term “hate crime” than “terrorism”, because hate crime has become a very widely used term for attacks based on race, religion. sexual orientation, etc and means that the judicial system will punish it differently.
As the media has often been taken to task for being to reluctant to use the term hate crime while they await more details, there should not be a rush to criticize them for using hate crime, but not terrorism.