Journalese of the Day: Activist.

The Times of London fulfilled the definition of “activist” in our dictionary, according to contributor Charlie Eckhart: “Someone with a machine gun or a bomb who espouses a cause with which the newsman agrees.” Here’s a Times headline, April 18, 2017: “Palestinian activist leads prisoners in hunger strike.” The “activist” is Marwan Barghouti, who The Times identifies as “a prisoner and leading member of the Fatah movement who is seen as a potential successor to President Abbas.”

A rather nice fellow, no? After all, at the end of the story, we learn that “Mr Barghouti was sentenced to five life terms in 2004 for organising an attack on a Tel Aviv restaurant.” Wow! Sounds like quite harsh sentence for only “organising an attack.”

But HonestReporting.com provides the missing facts: “Barghouti was not sentenced solely for organizing a March 2002 attack on a restaurant, in which three people were murdered. The court also found Barghouti responsible for a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim, in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem. In addition, he was also convicted of a charge of attempted murder, membership in a terror organization and conspiring to commit a crime.”

File under: Don’t ruin a story by reporting the background of an “activist” you admire.

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