(ReclaimingAmerica.net) – In a baffling editorial decision, a Voice of America (VOA) video report on the aftermath of the Hamas-led massacre at a music festival underwent revisions before its release, as discovered by National Review. The alterations involved substituting the word “terrorist” with “militant” to describe the assailants, a change mirroring the language preferences of certain global news agencies that aim for perceived neutrality.
The piece, crafted by Linda Gradstein, a VOA freelance reporter based in Israel, delved into a therapeutic program aiding survivors of the brutal attack on the Nova Music Festival near Re’im. This assault, orchestrated by Hamas, resulted in the systematic killing of over 250 individuals.
Recently unveiled footage showcased the chaos at the festival and the subsequent identification of victims. Gradstein’s report includes her visit to a farm in central Israel where survivors grapple with the psychological aftermath of the massacre.
The initial script circulated to VOA staff depicted survivors’ harrowing experiences evading Hamas terrorists at the festival. However, a later version, issued two hours after the first, reflected the contentious one-word alteration in both the narration and script.
While defending this editorial decision, VOA mentioned the conformity of the edited story with their guidelines on referencing terrorist groups. VOA spokeswoman Emily Webb acknowledged the omission of Hamas’s designation as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other nations, a fact now slated for correction in the report. She emphasized the fluid nature of editing, indicating that VOA doesn’t track changes made prior to publication.
This incident occurs amidst VOA’s recent scrutiny for its portrayal of Hamas’s October 7 attacks. National Review highlighted VOA’s internal guidance to staff, advising against labeling Hamas as terrorists, except in quotes. Carol Guensburg, VOA associate editor for news standards, defended this approach, aligning it with standards employed by other major news outlets. She argued that terminology related to terrorism often serves to demonize groups and individuals.
Senator Bill Hagerty criticized VOA’s stance, arguing against taxpayer funding for an outlet that hesitates to acknowledge facts. VOA’s coverage, including reports on China’s internet censorship related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, continues to attract attention and debate regarding journalistic standards and the portrayal of terrorist acts and organizations.