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August 29, 2023 9:44 am

Australian News Outlet Commendably Corrects Article on Tel Aviv Terror Attack

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avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


Israeli police work at the site of a suspected shooting attack in Tel Aviv, Israel August 5, 2023. REUTERS/Nir Elias

As Israelis mourned another senseless terror attack in Tel Aviv earlier this month, ABC Australia’s coverage stood out among the number of media blunders that HonestReporting highlighted.

Just hours after city inspector Chen Amir was murdered, ABC News Australia published a piece headlined, “Tel Aviv shooting leaves one man critically injured and one dead,” and also linked to the story on its world news page with a slightly altered headline that read, “Palestinian man killed in Tel Aviv shooting that leaves another critically injured.”

The Palestinian terrorist, who was shot dead when Amir’s colleague returned fire, was swiftly claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and had been wanted by Israeli security forces over his involvement in terror activity emanating from the Jenin refugee camp.

Even though it was only a short time before Chen’s death was confirmed, the first line of the story reported that a “Palestinian man [had] been shot dead” after “critically wounding” a Tel Aviv city inspector.

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We immediately made a formal complaint to ABC News Australia, specifically pointing out that the headline did not identify that the dead person in the initial headline was the perpetrator, in addition to the fact that the story had not been updated to note that the “critically injured” victim had died of his injuries.

We further criticized the outlet for failing to make any distinction between the terrorist and his victim.

On August 18 — two weeks after the piece was published — the headline and introduction to the piece were updated to more accurately reflect the attack, including by stating the fact that it was a “Palestinian shooting attack” and that an “Israeli security guard” was the victim.

An editor’s note was also added, which stated that the main title and teaser title “did not adequately convey the circumstances conveyed in the text.”

On August 27, we received an email from ABC’s Ombudsman’s Office, which investigated how the abysmal reporting error was made in the first place.

According to ABC News Australia, the news producer on shift at the time of the attack put together a “very short version of the story using details that were known at the time,” and this original story “was only a few paragraphs long” and did not include key details that were not known at the time.

The producer is then said to have finished her shift and an incomplete handover process between producers means the next producer to start their shift failed to update the story.

ABC News Australia confirmed that a reminder had been sent to producers to ensure handovers and notes for updating pieces are always completed.

We commend ABC News Australia for eventually amending the piece and for its transparency in explaining how it would prevent these mistakes from being made again.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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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