What Is It With the AP's Reluctance on 'Terrorism' and 'Terrorists'?

April 16th, 2013 4:48 AM

On Monday, Matt Vespa at NewsBusters noted the reluctance of the Associated Press to characterize what it would only call an "extremist attack" in Mogadishu, Somalia as "terrorism."

In his early morning dispatch in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the AP's Jimmy Golen at least used the word. But, incredibly, despite law enforcement authorities and others describing the bombings as an act of terrorism, Golen was still strangely tentative:


"Raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S."? Really?

Gosh, Golen could have leaned on the White House characterization without the needless uncertainty he communicated in his lead paragraph.

CNN wasn't reluctant to state the obvious:

(Window title) Terrorism strikes Boston Marathon as bombs kill 3, wound scores

(Published headline) Boy, 8, one of 3 killed in bombings at Boston Marathon; scores wounded

Two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, turning a celebration into a bloody scene of destruction.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Monday night that the death toll had risen to three. Scores were injured at the scene.

... The terrorist attack, near the marathon's finish line, triggered widespread screaming and chaos, shattered windows and barricades and sent smoke billowing into the air at Copley Square.

Jacquie Kubin at the Washington Times also didn't flinch: "Boston Marathon bombings: Source of terrorist attack not yet known."

A timeline at RT.com reads: "22:05 GMT: FBI identifies the explosions at the Boston Marathon as terrorist attack." That would be 18:05 EDT, or shortly after 6 p.m. Per RT, the FBI called the bombings a terrorist attack over seven hours before the AP's report.

What will it take for AP to remove "might have"?

UPDATE: The "Big Story" version of the story has the "terrorism" tag. Too bad it still has Golen's "might have" characterization.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.