Reuters Draws Fire for Misleading Headline on West Bank Terrorist Attack
The Reuters news agency came under fire on Wednesday from an American media watchdog for its reporting on a terrorist attack in the West Bank, in which an IDF soldier was stabbed and wounded, and his Palestinian attacker was shot dead.
In its Snapshots blog, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) called out Reuters for the misleading nature of its initial headline, which read, “Israeli soldier shoots dead Palestinian driver in West Bank: army.”
CAMERA wrote: “This sort of reporting that reverses the perpetrator and victim to whitewash Palestinian terrorism is what gives many news agencies their reputation for unprofessional, biased reporting.”
The headline was later changed by Reuters to: “Palestinian who stabbed Israeli soldier shot dead: army.” However, a Reuters tweet with the first incorrect headline was not deleted.
In the incident in question, a Palestinian man who had been throwing rocks from his vehicle was chased and blockaded by IDF troops. The Palestinian exited his car near the community of Yitzhar, south of Nablus, and stabbed a soldier. The wounded soldier then shot the assailant dead.
CAMERA compared Reuters’ initial coverage of Wednesday’s attack to an incident in Belgium earlier this month, in which a machete-wielding man stabbed and wounded two female police officers before being shot dead. The headline then was: “Man yelling ‘Allahu Akbar!’ wounds two Belgian police in machete attack.”
Why, then, isn’t today’s story headlined something like “Man wounds Israeli soldier in stabbing attack”? Unfortunately, distorted and misleading headlines about anti-Israel violence seem to be all the rage. Reuters’ Jerusalem bureau chief Luke Baker, especially, is no stranger to skewed journalism and double standards.
But wait: Hasn’t this same Luke Baker criticized headlines that cast attackers as nothing more than innocent victims? After CBS published [a] headline about an anti-Israel attack that read, “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on,” Baker called CBS’s wording ‘horrible.’
The tweet in which Baker made that statement, however, subsequently “mysteriously vanished from Twitter,” CAMERA wrote.
The disappearance of the post might seem strange. But then again, it sure would look bad if Baker’s own bureau repeatedly publishes headlines of the type that he himself said were ‘horrible.’ And it does look bad. But [it] might look equally bad for a journalist to surreptitiously delete his own tweets.
Since the outbreak of the current Palestinian “lone-wolf intifada” last September, there have been numerous cases of misleading headlines published by foreign media outlets about terrorist attacks against Israelis.
For example, in April, as reported by The Algemeiner, CNN was criticized for failing to refer to a major bus bombing in Jerusalem as a terrorist attack. After a bomb exploded during rush hour in a bus in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood on April 18, CNN’s article on the attack, carried out by a Hamas operative from the Bethlehem area, was initially headlined, “Bus fire in Jerusalem injures at least 21, police say.”