Jerusalem Terror Attack: Headline Fails

On Wednesday evening, a Palestinian deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people disembarking Jerusalem’s Light Rail, killing a three-month old baby and injuring several more, in what was clearly a terror attack.

Initial reports produced some jarring headline fails. Take the Associated Press’s first headline, which has caused widespread outrage:




APlogoThat the AP changed the headline within an hour and eventually arrived at the more accurate, “Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station” indicates that the wire service acknowledged that it had got it wrong with its initial headline. But the AP is still responsible for the immense damage that this headline can cause. For example, while AP may have updated its headline, what about those media outlets who had no qualms in keeping the original such as Turkey’s Daily Sabah? (H/T: Richard Behar)




HonestReporting contacted AP Jerusalem directly for an explanation and this was the response:

The headline in question was short-lived, written when confirmed details of what happened were scarce. The headline was replaced in just over a half hour as AP continued to publish updates about the incident, the driver and the victim. The final version of the story, and its headline, made clear what had happened.

If AP corrected its error, then Agence France Presse‘s treatment of the terror attack is potentially even worse by comparison. Some 17 hours after its first report at this time of writing, AFP is still running with this headline:




afplogoSo, for AFP, it’s still all about the shooting of a driver rather than the actions of a terrorist. While AP also made a similar error, it was, at least, corrected. AFP’s inaction is indicative of a media outlet that seemingly has no problem with its anti-Israel bias. Indeed, AFP has previous form. Compare the above with this headline from a July 2008 terror attack when a Palestinian bulldozer driver rammed an Israeli bus in Jerusalem:




Another repeat offender is the BBC. In typical fashion, the BBC cannot bring itself to attribute a Palestinian with responsibility for a terror attack:




bbclogoEven as it became perfectly clear that this incident was not a simple road traffic accident, the BBC continued to place the emphasis on the vehicle rather than the driver, even questioning whether this was a deliberate act with the use of quotation marks around the word “attack”:




A look at the BBC’s prior coverage of bulldozer terror attacks, like in the case of AFP, reveals a consistent trend. Check out the evolution of these BBC headlines from a bulldozer attack in March 2009:




And the same thing only weeks before that.

In every case, including the latest, the BBC headlines question whether it was a terror attack and place the emphasis for responsibility on a vehicle rather than a Palestinian behind the wheel.

All of the above demonstrate a responsive framing of an incident. In the case of Wednesday’s terror attack, that the AFP and BBC were unable or unwilling to move beyond their initial mindsets as the information became clearer yet again exposes these news organizations’ deep anti-Israel pathology.



What about The Independent’s priorities? The Jerusalem terror attack warrants a couple of sentences included seven paragraphs into a story with this headline:




The Independent acknowledges that the Palestinian boy, who has learning difficulties, was held for 15 minutes before being turned over to his father.

It’s a sad indictment on The Independent’s lack of a moral compass that the newspaper views the 15 minute detention of a Palestinian boy as more important or newsworthy than the murder of a three-month old Jewish baby in a Palestinian terror attack.


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