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February 4, 2016 2:59 pm

Media Watchdog Demands Accountability From CBS Over ‘Misleading’ Headline on Terrorist Attack, Even After It Was Changed

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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HonestReporting's "Action Alert." Photo; HonestReporting.

HonestReporting’s “Action Alert.” Photo; HonestReporting.

A watchdog organization called on the public on Thursday to join a campaign to “demand accountability” from a major media outlet in relation to its Israel reportage.

HonestReporting circulated an “Action Alert” on social media in the wake of the publication of what it has deemed an egregiously misleading headline placed by CBS News on its story about Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem, in which 19-year-old Israel Border Policewoman Hadar Cohen was killed and her comrade, Ravit Mirilashvili, was seriously wounded.

In the course of the attack, perpetrated by three West Bank Palestinians armed with knives, guns and pipe bombs — purportedly with the intention to inflict large-scale carnage — the terrorists were shot and killed by Israeli security forces.

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“3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on,” the headline read.

The original CBS News headline about Wednesday's terrorist attack at the Damascus Gate. Photo: Screenshot.

The original CBS News headline about Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Damascus Gate. Photo: Screenshot.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Government Press Office and the Prime Minister’s Office together pressured to have the “biased and dishonest” headline changed, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The headline was subsequently altered twice. The first time, about an hour and a half after the first one appeared, it was changed to: “Israeli police kill 3 alleged Palestinian attackers.”

Its final version, according to The Post, was: “Palestinians kill Israeli officer, wound another before being killed.”

HonestReporting says this is not sufficient, because “even though the headline was updated after CBS heard from outraged viewers, the question remains: How could a major news organization like CBS News write and then publish such a misleading headline?”

HonestReporting explained, “The most important component of a news story may very well be the headline. In fact, most people only skim headlines to get their news. That is why it is critical that headlines be accurate, from the moment the story is first published. When it comes to Palestinian terror against Israelis, this is often not the case.”

The appeal to the public to complain about what the watchdog considers to be an ongoing violation of the outlet’s journalistic ethics says, “Please sign our letter to CBS News President David Rhodes demanding accountability for their coverage of Israel.”

The letter in question reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Rhodes:

Your headline on February 3, 2016 describing a Palestinian terrorist attack which resulted in the death of one Israeli and the wounding of two others was “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on.” This headline was completely misleading as it ignored the most crucial fact of the incident: That the Palestinians were terrorists who were trying to kill Israelis.

We understand that the headline was updated later on, but we demand to know how the original headline was published on your website. We also would like to know what steps you will take to ensure that the same problem does not occur again.

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  • nelson marans

    Don’t listen to CBS. Their 60 Minutes program has always been a source of anti-Israel propaganda and their news programs rate behind NBC and ABC. Let their advertisers know of your concern Try Fox for a change.

  • Geoff Sharpe

    These people would feel at home in Nazi Germany. They do not make mistakes they are furthering their aims. How can they ever live with themselves! Surely we must be entering the end of times. Geoff, Sydney, Australia

  • The BDS mevement is a sham.

  • Jack

    As disappointing for those of us who hope for truth in reporting up front, the lesson for vigilance is the important outcome.

  • CBS, please be encouraged to write an article about the controversy over headlines and the instances where publications decide to adjust headlines.

    I’m not being facetious, it’s interesting and appropriate. Most of all, you’ll find that the headline faux pas are disproportionately anti-Israel.

  • Why do you report like this?

  • Mickey Oberman

    CBS and most of the western news media are slowly but surely paving the way for the Islamic takeover of of the western democratic world.

    They are too stupid to realize that the media will be among the first of western institutions to be destroyed.

    They are, lie by lie, committing suicide.

  • After the Yom Kippur war in 1973 with the hike of the price of oil, the US and European establishments including the media turned violently against the State of Israel including the rise of Anti-Semitism.

    No matter what is the reality and truth, Israel is always blamed for the folly of Western incompetent politicians.

  • Come on CBS! This is tabloid rate reporting, not fit for professional journalism. Get your facts straight. Palestinian terrorists with the intent to commit mass murder were confronted by Isreali Police! Was that so hard to say?

    • Dr. Abramovich, Simsbury, CT

      Sir,
      it appears to be extremely naïve to expect anything else from a network where for many years such explicit liars as Dan Rather and his ilk played major roles.

  • Francis Figliola

    The Rhodes name tells the story. His brother is a close advisor to the Islamic Apologist-in-Chief! Need we say more?

  • Danielle Fraenkel

    As someone who views PBS and CBS local and national news more than any other of the major stations, I am horrified by the implicit bigotry in your approach to writing headlines. Corrections are helpful, but they do not erase first impressions. That you needed three attempts before you got it right makes me wonder whom I can trust.

  • NuritG

    To:
    Mr. David Rhodes, CBS News President
    Israel’s Prime Minister Mrs. Golda Meir once said: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
    When Gold Meir was Israel’s Prime Minister these terrorists were referred to as Arabs, who in 1964, guided by terrorist Yasser Arafat, became “Palestinians,” as a political tool name to fool the world and subvert Israel.
    The Arabs being killed by Israelis, in what is now called “knife intifada,” in Israel, are terrorists who were eliminated during, or after they have perpetrated heinous terror attack on Israelis.
    Your headline on February 3, 2016 describing a Palestinian terrorist attack, which resulted in the death of one Israeli and the wounding of two others was “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on.” This headline completely ignored the most crucial fact of the incident: That the Arab-Palestinians were terrorists who were trying to kill Israelis.
    Though your corrected this particular headline, I demand that instead of posting headlines that misleads the world, for once and forever more, please tell the truth by saying, “3 Arab-Palestinians were killed because, they tried to murder Israelis, in a terror attack.”
    In Judaism there is a moral rule which says:
    Hebrew: הבא להורגך השקם להורגו
    Meaning: The one rises to kill you, kill him first.
    This means that a person is allowed to defend himself/herself and save his or her life, at the cost of the person who is endangering his or her life, as self-defense.

  • Carol

    Anti-Semites continue. It just never seems to stop. All news networks, print or otherwise, are guilty of continuing this sludge epidemic.

  • Esther Kaplan

    If you are waiting for major news outlets to refrain from throwing Israel under the bus, you face a longer wait than you might be up for. The slant dates back years and despite having been identified and certified, continues unabated.
    Esther Kaplan
    Woodstock IL 60098

  • E Jackson

    As a mother and grandmother I know well how little time my children have to keep updated on current events. With this in mind I can’t help but think how a biased headline can alter their world view one story at a time.

    What concerns me more is the thought of my little grandson taking his current event story to class and a group of children having their belief system developed by misleading information. It almost sounds like a situation I understand goes on with the children of Palestine, a slow manipulation of the mind, a breading ground for hate.

  • Gail

    CBS should show the funerals of the girls/women killed by stabbing in the last few weeks
    Cowards the terrorists prey on women and children?
    CBS sits comfortably in the offices in Manhattan ? A bunch of same cowards

  • Denis FORMAN

    Your comment may be deemed very soft. The headline presents the authors of a crime as victims. The headline is thus not merely misleading, it is a mutilation of the very facts…that follows the mutilation of two Israeli victims. Miserable manipulation.

  • frank khalastchi

    unbelievable how CBS News want to deceive the public with there headline

  • Joshua Becher

    CBS get your stuff together you keep advertising integrity on your evening new ha ha

    • Dr. Abramovich, Simsbury, CT

      Why not to call all American Jews to boycott CBS?
      I have stopped watching ABC since the openly and viciously anti-Semitic Jennings, CBS since Dan Rather and NBC due to its ultra-leftist bias.

  • James Simon

    Obama leads the world by example.
    ‘ it’s ok to be antisemitic and persecute Jews’.
    It’s ok to re write history.

  • Mark Schlachet

    When history takes a long view many decades from now, it will conclude that media’s degeneration such as yours was a primary cause of the failure of American democracy. How can you sink so low?

  • Tim Bering

    How can I trust CBS to deliver any news accurately when such a blatant lie is allowed to aired? This is not an error; this is outright antisemitism in the ranks of CBS. Please take care of this internal problem so that it does not happen again. May the success of your company depend on this.

  • Mordecai Ben Natan

    That seems to be the trend al over the world.
    I wrote to the Cape Times to complain about a head line some time ago (And this is only one of the many
    the headline is what people read, many do not reaf=d the story..\\The Head line read, (In bold black letters)

    Israeli police shoot and kill Palestinina driver.

    Under neath that the story was that is was an accident.

    I aske how can that be an accidwent, when
    he deliberatley drove into three poilice women, at a bus station,then reversing his car to make sure that he killed them?

    Of course, they never replied.
    The Cape Times is owned by Muslims

  • Ellen north

    What is happening to the ethical press? Is it headed to the garbage or fronting for anther source to misconstrue the facts. It doesn’t sell Veiwers and it is not a newspaper selling headlines
    It is despicable and shockingly disturbing. The keepers of the truth are spreading mis truths
    What can the reason be? Where are the editors and news management to make sure this doesn’t happen

  • Mr Rhodes ,I trust and hope and pray to God that you will be assassinated for the wrong doing.You are an scumbag and not the dogs will eat from your flesh.May the truth of Israel prevail.May your children be murdered.

    Andre(South Africa)
    My prayer God almighty come down and stop this carnage against the IsRAELIS.No human being can live under this circumstances.To the parents of the young woman who died on Wednesday.It is with tears that I read the article and I donot have words to describe your pain as she was an beautiful young woman.God be with your family.

  • Virginia Swenson

    Eagerly awaiting you solution to honest reporting. i.e unbiased toward Israel.

  • rose schreiber

    what a travesty of justice . why do you not check the facts

    before you print them.

  • stevenl

    The left was and remains at war with her “soul” assuming she has one, which is highly doubtful! But definitely at war with IL.

  • Isaac Waterman

    CBS in the hands of Palestinian Investors??????????????????

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