Eighty-percent of Americans who bother to read the news at all do not read beyond the headline. So when major news outlets reporting on the violence in Israel in just one 12-hour period failed in their headlines to properly identify the perpetrators of terror attack, or their victims, or the nature of the attack, it is cause for concern. More on this worrisome dereliction of journalistic duty can be found here: “Headlines Hazy on Details in Coverage of Palestinian Terror Attacks,” by Chaim Lax, HonestReporting, August 31, 2023:
Within the span of 12 hours, one Israeli was killed and at least six others were wounded in two separate Palestinian terror attacks.
The first attack occurred on the evening of August 30, when a Palestinian teen from East Jerusalem stabbed a 25-year-old Israeli in the back at the Shivtei Yisrael light rail station. The victim managed to escape before an off-duty Border Police officer shot the terrorist multiple times, ultimately killing him.
Approximately 12 hours later, a Palestinian terrorist rammed a truck into a group of off-duty soldiers walking along the highway near a checkpoint, hit a nearby car and then drove away. Israeli security forces were able to kill the terrorist before he could commit another ramming attack.
In their coverage of these two terror attacks, several news outlets provided vague headlines that left readers with hazy information as to the nature of these attacks.
In the headlines for their reports on the Jerusalem light rail stabbing attack, both the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP) wire services focused on the fate of the terrorist while obscuring the identity of his victim and the nature of his attack….
Here is the AP headline: “In latest violence, Israeli police kill Palestinian teen assailant and West Bank bomb hurts Israelis.” The headline is the killing of the “teen assailant” by the Israeli police, but there is no information given about what the “assailant” had done or about the identity of the person attacked. Might that Palestinian, for example, have been throwing rocks at the police? In fact, he had stabbed an Israeli civilian in the back, in an attempt to kill him. And no mention is made of the assailant’s affiliation with a terror group. It turns out that he was “claimed” by both Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, both groups proud of the teen assailant’s attempt to murder an Israeli and wanting the credit.
That AP headline was then enlarged so as to mention another attack, but again that new part of the headline — “West Bank bomb hurts Israelis” — does not make clear who planted the bomb that wounded those Israelis. Some might even think the bomb belonged to the Israelis and that this was a “work accident.” Why didn’t AP write “Palestinians plant bomb that injures Israelis”?
The AFP headline about the stabbing was this: “Teenage attacker shot dead after Jerusalem stabbing: police.” This was even more vague than the AP headline, not identifying the “teenage attacker” as a Palestinian, not mentioning that his victim was an Israeli, and failing to note that the attack was not personal but, as the Israelis say, “of a nationalistic character,” meaning it was one more attack designed to drive the hated Jews out of “Palestine, from the river to the sea.” AFP could have had as its headline: “Palestinian terrorist stabs Israeli in back, is shot dead by off-duty Border Police officer.”
Perhaps the most egregious (but unsurprising) headline on the Jerusalem attack came from Al Jazeera, which not only omitted the fact that an innocent Israeli had been stabbed in the back but left out any mention of an attack altogether.
For anyone reading the Al Jazeera headline, it would appear as if a random Palestinian teenager was killed by the Israel Police for no reason. This is the perfect example of how the Qatar-funded news organization conceals reality in order to promote its anti-Israel narrative.
Similar to its report on the Jerusalem light rail stabbing attack, AFP’s initial headline on the truck ramming attack was equally vague and uninformative.
Why did the AFP merely report that three people were injured in a truck ramming attack, omitting the fact that the perpetrator was a Palestinian, and that the victims were Israelis?
Even the first paragraph of this AFP report was hazy with the details, merely referring to the attack being committed by a “truck driver” and that “three people”– not “three Israelis” — had been injured.
In its headline, The Guardian not only omitted the fact that the victims were Israelis but even attempted to minimize the nature of the attack by describing it as “Palestinian motorist drives car into pedestrians.” For all the average reader can tell, this is a simple road accident and not the deliberate mowing down of Israelis by a terrorist bent on killing them….
This was no “motorist” who simply lost control of his car, but a terrorist hellbent on killing Israelis by running them down. The Guardian should have written “Palestinian terrorist rams car into Israeli pedestrians, kills one.”
So it will take organizations such as HonestReporting.com and CAMERA.org to continue their difficult and at times exhausting work of constantly monitoring not just the contents of the media stories about Israel and the Palestinians, but also the headlines of those stories, that for 80% of readers constitute all that they will see.
EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.