MEDIA

Don't Call Terrorists 'Masterminds,' MSNBC Host Says

It's exactly what they would want.

MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell had some harsh words for those in the news media who are referring to the man who planned last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris as a "mastermind."

"Stop calling Abdelhamid Abaaoud a mastermind.  You can call him the ringleader of the attacks. You can call him the organizer of the attacks, but stop glorifying this homicidal maniac who flunked out of high school," O'Donnell said Wednesday night on "The Last Word." 

Abaaoud, 27, allegedly planned the attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead. The Belgian citizen was confirmed dead by the office of Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins following a chaotic raid on an apartment building in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis on Wednesday.

O'Donnell said that referring to Abaaoud as a "mastermind" is exactly what the Islamic State, the militant group that has taken credit for the attacks, would want.

"If he could he could type the word into your computer to describe himself on these T.V. screens, he would type mastermind," he said. "What would the Islamic State like him to be called? You are taking dictation from terrorists when you call him a mastermind."

He cautioned journalists to carefully consider the words they use to describe those who perpetrate violence.

"We know it doesn't take a mastermind," he said. "It takes a sick mind."

O'Donnell isn't the first journalist to make this argument. Politico’s Jack Shafer criticized the use of the word "mastermind" in an article published Monday, saying “there was nothing ‘masterful’” about what took place in Paris.