Watchdog: Pressure on Canadian Paper Leading to Amendment of Headline About Slaughter of 13-Year-Old Kiryat Arba Girl Serves as Warning Against Double Standards in Israel Coverage
The pressure on a major Canadian newspaper to amend the headline of its story about last week’s slaughter of a 13-year-old Israeli girl serves as a warning against the application of double standards when it comes to reportage on the Jewish state and Palestinian terrorism, a media analyst told The Algemeiner on Monday
Simon Plosker, managing editor of the watchdog organization HonestReporting, was referring to a National Post report on Thursday — originally published under a different headline in the Washington Post -titled: “Palestinian fatally stabs sleeping Israeli girl in West Bank settlement in what Israel calls a terrorist attack.”
It was the phrase “in what Israel calls a terrorist attack” with which Plosker took issue — as though there was a question about whether the butchering of the girl at the hands of a Palestinian terrorist was, indeed, an act of terror.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the brutal murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel was anything less than a terrorist attack. It’s bad enough that most of the media still refuses to use the word ‘terrorism’ to describe ideologically driven incitement fueled violence against Israelis,” Plosker said. “If this isn’t a clear-cut case of terrorism, then what is?”
Following an active campaign by the watchdog group calling to change the headline, the National Post amended its headline to:
According to HonestReporting, the National Post said it never had any intention of casting doubt on the murder of Ariel, and that its website staff have been reminded to treat reporting on terror attacks in Israel more carefully.
“Getting this headline changed was not only important for the record, but also to remind the media, even an outlet with a good record on coverage of Israel, that there cannot be a double standard that differentiates, excuses or downplays Palestinian attacks on innocent Israelis compared to other global terrorist acts. Israeli lives matter and Palestinian terrorism should be called exactly that,” Plosker told The Algemeiner.
On Thursday morning, knife-wielding 19-year-old Muhammed Taraiyre infiltrated the Ariel family home in Kiryat Arba, located next to Hebron in the West Bank. Taraiyre — who came from the nearby Palestinian village of Bani Naim — entered Ariel’s bedroom while she was sleeping and stabbed her repeatedly for several minutes.
Taraiyre had managed to infiltrate the security fence surrounding the Jewish neighborhood before rushing into the Ariel home. A local civilian Rapid Response Team chased after him, but was unable to reach the house before he murdered Ariel — who was later confirmed to be a US citizen. The team found her lying in a pool of her own blood. Attempting to escape, Taraiyre attacked the response team and critically wounded one of them. The killer was eventually shot dead by a member of the team.
“Hallel’s murder was shocking even in the horribly long list of Palestinian terror attacks over the last several. Most media did recognize this although some failed,” Plosker said.
It took CNN, for example, “several hours to even report on the attack on its website, which is astonishing for a media outlet that prides itself on broadcasting breaking news first,” Plosker said.
NBC News featured a headline which Plosker said “stood out,” because it referred to a “suspected terrorist.” The headline was amended following complaints by HonestReporting, but still whitewashed the attack, Plosker said, adding, “While initially NBC used the word ‘terrorist,’ it swiftly made a further change to refer to a ‘Palestinian teen’ in the headline, which unacceptably softens the language.”