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April 18, 2016 5:52 pm

Watchdog Groups Blast CNN for ‘Bus Fire’ Headline Following Major Terror Bombing in Jerusalem


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A screenshot of the CNN report on Monday's Jerusalem bus explosion, which was confirmed as a terrorist attack. Photo: Screenshot.

A screenshot of the CNN report on Monday’s Jerusalem bus explosion, which was confirmed as a terrorist attack. Photo: Screenshot.

Leading Jewish groups harshly denounced CNN on Monday for failing to refer to a major bus bombing in Jerusalem as a terrorist attack.

“There’s no excuse for this; hopefully it’s not part of a pattern,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner. 

Cooper was responding to CNN‘s coverage of an explosion on the number 12 bus as it drove through Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood during rush hour. At least 21 people were wounded in the incident, two of them critically. Although the cause of the incident was initially unclear, Jerusalem Police Chief  Yoram Levy soon confirmed, “There is no doubt that this is a terror attack.”

But, as of the time of this publication, the leading CNN article reporting on the incident carried the headline, “Bus fire in Jerusalem injures at least 21, police say.”

“CNN is an important news organization and it owes its readership, the victims and itself to get the story right,” Cooper said. “I hope it updates this story, as it has done for others in the past, in a timely fashion.”

Dexter Van Zile, a researcher for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), added, “It’s universally understood that this was a terrorist attack. CNN needs to get on the shtick and change the headline.”

In its article about the explosion, which was updated throughout the day, CNN referred to the attack as a “bus fire” and “bus blast.” It also cited Israeli officials calling the bombing a “deliberate attack” and said, “It’s unclear whether the attack was linked to terror groups.” However, the offending headline remained.

Simon Plosker, managing editor of the media watchdog HonestReporting, told The Algemeiner, “CNN’s headline implies that the bus spontaneously combusted. The bus did not simply catch fire – it was a deliberate act and CNN fails to acknowledge this. That the headline is still online hours after terrorism has been confirmed as the cause of the blaze is absolutely appalling.”

The SWC’s Cooper called on the United Nations’ Security Council members to convene a session to specifically condemn Hamas as a terrorist group and “all elements of the Palestinian Authority [that are] validating and promoting terrorism 24/7.”

“Events like today are what’s blocking peace,” Cooper told The Algemeiner. “Terrorism and hatred are what’s blocking peace. We need to finally call out the terrorists for what they are. CNN may be slow in recognizing this as a terrorist attack. The Security Council has been a little bit slow for a longer period of time.”

CNN did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for a comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, Amichai Stein, deputy editor of Israel’s Channel 1, posted a video on Twitter showing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip celebrating the bus attack by handing out candy to drivers — a common practice in the both the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority following major terrorist events against Israelis.

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