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July 28, 2016 5:10 am

The New York Times Downplays Islam, Omits Israel From Story on Terror Attacks

avatar by Ira Stoll

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The scene of the Nice attack. Photo: Twitter/UN Human Rights.

The scene of the Nice attack. Photo: Twitter/UN Human Rights.

A New York Times article about the recent spate of multiple murders in Europe and the United States is headlined: “Mass Killings May Have Created Contagion, Feeding on Itself.”

The story goes on for 13 paragraphs before the word “Islam” or “Muslim” is mentioned.

The killers, instead, are identified as an “Iranian-German,” a “Tunisian” and “the Orlando gunman.”

Only in the final paragraph of the article is there any mention of the Islamic State. Instead, the recent terrorist attacks are lumped together with the Sandy Hook and Columbine school shootings.

It’s almost as if the Times is contorting itself to avoid mentioning radical Islam as a motivation for murder. Doing so might risk contradicting the Times’ recent “virtual reality” portrayal of Mecca as “truly peaceful” and the “city of the future.”

I can understand the reluctance to introduce religion into a story where it is not relevant or to avoid tarring all Islam as violent. I’m sympathetic to both those hesitations. Maybe in the Munich attack, the killer was indeed a deranged copycat, rather than a fervent Islamic radical.

But it’s worth noticing, too, that there is one other pointed omission in this Times story, too. The Times mentions attacks in Nice, in Munich, in Orlando, in San Bernardino; “in Paris, at airports in Brussels and Istanbul, and in public spaces in Mumbai.” It mentions the school shootings in Columbine and Sandy Hook and at a community college in Oregon.

But it doesn’t mention a single mass terrorist attack in Israel. The Jaffa stabbing spree goes unmentioned, as does the attack on a Jerusalem bus. Including the Israeli attacks might undercut the Times’ thesis. It might suggest that the violence is caused by radical Islam, rather than by “contagion feeding on itself.” Or it might even suggest that since the radical Muslims are attacking Nice and Paris and Istanbul and Brussels along with Jaffa and Jerusalem, their real grievance or target isn’t merely Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank, but rather something else.

Anyway, now add the New York Times to the list of media outlets that have managed to write about the recent terrorist onslaught while mysteriously omitting Israel from the list of victimized countries.

The same pattern is on display in the big Times project on “the human toll of terror.” The newspaper managed to find an Israeli victim, but of a terror attack in Turkey. The project focused on two weeks in which there apparently was no fatal terrorist attack in Israel. The Times refers to “what feels like an endless stream of terror attacks. Orlando and Beirut. Paris and Nice and St. Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. Germany and Japan and Egypt.” Not Jaffa or Jerusalem. Strange.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here. 

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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