‘New York Times’ Faces Backlash After Changing Reference of ‘Hamas Terrorists’ to ‘Hamas Gunmen’

The United States first designated Hamas a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in 1997. When speaking about the attacks in Israel, President Joe Biden explicitly condemned the “bloody hands of the terrorist organization Hamas.” Even so, the word ‘terrorist’ is apparently a bridge too far for media outlets like The New York Times.

On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Eli Lake, host of The Re-Education with Eli Lake, to discuss a curious copy edit The New York Times is now under fire for and why certain factions of the left and media are struggling with how to talk about terrorist attacks.

The New York Times Edits Itself

Late Tuesday, The New York Times published a story titled “Hamas Leaves Trail of Terror in Israel.” Initially, the sub-headline read, “As Israeli soldiers regain control of areas near Gaza that came under attack, they are finding evidence seen in videos and photos and confirmed by witness accounts of the massacre of civilians by Hamas terrorists.” Later, the Times changed the word “terrorists” to “gunmen.” Greg Price flagged the edit on X (formerly known as Twitter).

After receiving backlash on social media, the outlet reverted back to using “terrorists” in the sub-headline – though it continues to refer to members of Hamas as “gunmen” in the article itself.

The copy editing at the Times comes on the heels of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) telling journalists to avoid the use of the word ‘terrorists.’ According to a leaked memo that went out to staff on Saturday afternoon, CBC News Director of Journalistic Standards George Achi told employees to “not refer to militants, soldiers, or anyone else as ‘terrorists.’”

The reasoning: “The notion of terrorism remains highly politicized and is part of the story. Even when quoting/clipping a government or a source referring to fighters as ‘terrorists,’ we should add context to ensure the audience understands this opinion, not fact.” Like the U.S., Canada has designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

Media Complicity

Whether you consider the U.S. State Department being forced to delete a tweet that advocated for a ceasefire, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) being booed at a pro-Israel rally in Boston for suggesting a “de-escalation of the current violence,” or members of ‘The Squad’ calling for the end of U.S. support for the “Israeli military occupation and apartheid,” Megyn said the left “seems to be really struggling right now on how to message this.”

The media, she noted, is a part of that. “The media is complicit in that same message,” she explained. “Not only do they try to downplay the evils of Hamas by the way they reference Hamas, but they are very pro-de-escalation as a norm and will probably quickly switch to that message entirely.”

Lake said the capitulation from the media is inexcusable. “Was anybody having this discussion after 9/11 about Al-Qaeda? Did anybody have this discussion after ISIS beheaded American aid workers? It’s ridiculous,” he concluded. “It seems like there’s a constant double standard for Israel in the media.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Lake by tuning in to episode 645 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.