While there are several slightly different definitions of terrorism, most of them specify that terrorist attacks are attacks against innocent people launched by individuals or organizations to further a political or religious agenda by intimidating a civilian population.

The United States defines the term in law and the U.S. State Department publishes a yearly report on International terrorism.

Terrorism exists, and I don’t think there are many people who are in doubt as to its meaning. When a 13 year old girl is murdered in her bed by someone who has never met her but believes that killing her promotes the Palestinian cause, it’s terrorism. Even people who are not sympathetic to Israel’s case lose all credibility if they deny that such attacks amount to terror.

Government and law enforcement agencies around the world use the term and identify groups that espouse terrorism. When a violent attack against innocents takes place, the first question people want to know is whether it is terrorism.

So it is no surprise that terrorist attacks are being featured in the media more and more. What is strange is that many in the media continue to cling to style guides that put the word “terrorism” off limits in most situations. (See “Terrorism in the Media” for more background.)

But doing so is becoming harder and harder as terror around the globe is on the rise. Hamas as a detailed record of committing horrendous attacks leading to the death of men, woman, and children. If the United States, the European Union and many others label Hamas as a terror group, is it really such a stretch for the media to do the same? Is there anything that could convince the media that it is not only ok, but justified to use the label?

Read the whole article in the Times of Israel.