Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about the weird synchronicity that happened today: two female suicide bombers killed dozens of people in Moscow, and a terrorist cell consisting of nine Muslims and having ties to Iraqi insurgents were arrested after planning an attack on US police.
Oh, except that the terrorist cell actually consisted of nine, white, Christianist militia members. Therefore they aren't terrorists.
The group used bomb plans based on those used by Iraqi insurgents. They were going to specifically target law enforcement officers and their families. Their goal was to incite nationwide violence that would bring down the US government. They planned to use weapons of mass destruction. Improvised explosive devices, even. They've actually been charged with sedition, for crying out loud. Why isn't this terrorism?
The NY Times article about the Moscow bombing uses the words "terror" or "terrorism" fourteen times. The article on the American terrorists? Exactly once, and then it's in reference to a government report from a year ago. This CNN article and this FOX News article don't use the word at all. Like the NY Times, CNN has no problem using the word eleven times in this article about the Moscow bombings.
So why is the American press so reluctant to refer to American terrorists as terrorists?
This isn't just an issue of semantics. Joe Lieberman and John McCain introduced just a few weeks ago the "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act," that would allow the government to detain and indefinitely hold without trial anyone -- including American citizens within the US -- the President deems to be a "terrorist." Looking through the text of the bill, it fits these people perfectly. (h/t Glenzilla.)
I can think of no reason to refuse to refer to these militia members as "terrorists" other than a reluctance to use the word in anything other than in reference to Those People Over There With The Funny Skin Tone And That Wear Things On Their Heads. Am I wrong?