Harriet Sherwood’s latest Guardian report on terror attacks from Gaza redefines the word “Sporadic”

A guest post by AKUS

Merriam Webster:

Definition of SPORADIC

:occurring occasionally, singly, or in irregular or random instances <sporadic protests> <a sporadic disease>

In her latest contribution to the abuse of the English language and misreporting from the Middle East, Harriet Sherwood writes:

“Hamas has largely adhered to a ceasefire that came into effect at the end of a three-week war in Gaza in January 2009. However, smaller militant groups such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have continued sporadic rocket fire.”

However, as Israelinurse demonstrated  in her recent post,  “The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood: Terror Propagandist”, there has been frequent, virtually daily, firing of rockets and mortars  throughout August, September, and October, culminating in some 40 missiles being fired from Gaza into Israel over the last couple of days – as even Sherwood, had to note.  

When, in Sherwood’s mind, does “sporadic” become “frequent”?  Ten rockets and mortar shells a day? Fifty?  One hundred?  Thousands? How many missiles would be fired into London before the attacks would no longer be considered “sporadic”?

Of course, Sherwood managed as usual to put the cart before the horse in describing the latest round of heavy rocket fire into Israel:

“The weekend’s cycle of violence began when the Israeli air force targeted a group of militants in southern Gaza on Saturday, claiming the militants were preparing to launch long-range missiles into Israel.”

Let’s rewrite this so that the time sequence is represented correctly, and fix up the description of those involved: 

The weekend’s cycle of violence began when a group of terrorists in southern Gaza on Saturday were preparing to launch long-range missiles into Israel. The Israeli air force targeted them in order to prevent the launch. 

Finally, of course, Sherwood is quite representative of the Guardian staff in her butchering of one of the languages in which the Guardian appears (the other being Arabic). The sub-header to her article that was provided by some hack in London reads:

Islamic Jihad says it will stop firing rockets if air strikes cease after militants and Israeli civilian killed

If you have difficulty parsing this, you are probably not alone. Did the Islamic Jihad really want more terrorists and an Israeli citizen killed before it stopped firing missiles at civilians? Presumably the intention was:

After nine terrorists and an Israeli civilian were killed, Islamic Jihad says it will stop firing rockets if air strikes cease.

But that’s the Guardian for you. I can only assume that the software they use to translate their reports from their Arabic primary sources still has a few bugs to be worked out.

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