Fooling many of the people much of the time

“Hamas Drops Call for Israel’s Destruction,” headlined The Wall Street Journal last week. The New York Times told its readers: “Hamas Moderates Talk on Israel.” And the United Kingdom’s The Guardian concluded that Hamas had produced a document likely to “ease peace process.”

All this is big news — or would be if it were true. But it’s not. Not even close. What it is instead: more evidence that, when it comes to Islamists, too many journalists are losing what George Orwell called the “constant struggle” to see “what is in front of one’s nose.”

To understand what’s really going on, start with a few pertinent facts. Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, Britain and the European Union. Following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, civil war broke out between Hamas and its main rival, Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.