A few days after the massacre of 30 British subjects on a Tunisian beach, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, used an interview on the BBC to berate the broadcaster and others for using the term "Islamic State." Mr. Cameron's suggestion was that the broadcaster should either refer to the "so-called Islamic State," use the acronym "ISIL," or adopt the Arabic term, "Daesh."
None of these suggestions is workable. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was never the "army" of the Irish Republic. It was instead a group of sectarian terrorists who claimed to fight for a community that was largely disgusted by their actions. Yet throughout a bombing and murder campaign lasting three decades, the BBC never referred to the IRA as the "so-called IRA." The group called itself the IRA, and so broadcasters and others referred to it as such. One might wish to call such groups all sorts of things, but calling by the name its leaders adopt is the easiest option of presenting the facts and not getting bogged down in nomenclature.