“I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification they have cited that I think is illegitimate. They have invoked Islam to justify their attacks,” he told reporters. “I think what I’m trying to do is to describe to you what happened and what they did.”
I appreciate the thought process. In fact, it reminds me of how journalists often describe their roles: I think what I’m trying to do is to describe to you what happened and what they did. That is accurate to a point, but any reporter will tell you their job goes beyond transcription; we also provide context and call fouls. We make judgments, some of them harsh.
To not call the attacks Islamic extremism whitewashes from public debate an important detail: These terrorists are invoking a great religion to do evil. It’s an uncomfortable fact – but a fact nonetheless.