Headline Fails as Israeli Soldier Convicted of Manslaughter

The conviction of IDF soldier Sergeant Elor Azaria for the manslaughter of a Palestinian terrorist has generated many headlines in the international press. The terrorist had attacked and stabbed an Israeli soldier before being shot and wounded.

A thorough legal process has decided that Azaria’s actions in shooting dead the terrorist after he had already been neutralized amount to manslaughter. However, while we should in no way diminish the seriousness of Azaria’s act, too many headlines have portrayed the terrorist as a wholly innocent individual, thus removing vital context.

Why do the headlines matter? As we’ve noted, most people simply skim headlines, both in newspapers and on social media, and do not read most of the actual articles that are presented to them. So for many casual readers who don’t closely follow the Israeli-Arab conflict, all they know about the latest in the Mideast is from the headlines and alerts of articles they don’t read.

The Times of London says that the terrorist was simply a Palestinian:




This type of headline was also repeated by media outlets including:

  • Irish Times: Israel’s PM wants pardon for soldier who killed Palestinian
  • International Business Times: Who Is Elor Azaria? Israeli Soldier Convicted Over Death Of Palestinian
  • Financial Times: Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting Palestinian
  • Channel 4 UK: Israeli soldier convicted over Palestinian death
  • New York Daily News: Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter in shooting death of wounded Palestinian man

Meanwhile, The Australian says that the terrorist was a “shot Arab”:




The Irish Independent refers to an “unarmed man”:




Sky News went with “incapacitated man.”




For Newsweek, the terrorist was an “immobile Palestinian”:




In the eyes of Israel’s detractors, it wasn’t Elor Azaria on trial but the entire IDF and even Israel itself. By removing vital context from headlines in order to imply that Israeli soldiers shoot unarmed, incapacitated Palestinians as a matter of course, the media have come up with their own biased and inaccurate judgments.

If you see an example of headline bias, let us know through our Red Alert page.

  Like what you just read? Sign up for more: