As usual when a terror attack occurs in Israel, world media immediately misrepresented the facts after terrorists committed a fatal shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night. Some news outlets simply omitted any mention of terror, while others wrote blatantly misleading titles pointing blame away from the Palestinian terrorists.
Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a crowded Tel Aviv restaurant, killing four Israelis and wounding sixteen, three of those seriously. Unsurprisingly, international media was reluctant to classify it as a terror attack, even though the nature of the shooting became clear almost immediately through videos, images, eyewitness reports, and police statements.
Undoubtedly the worst media offender was Russia’s RT News, which published a dramatically misleading headline on Wednesday night claiming that the fatal terror shooting attack which had taken place in central Tel Aviv had been carried out by two “‘ultra-Orthodox Jewish’ gunmen”.
The claim likely originated from eyewitnesses who said the shooters were dressed in the garb of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews. In fact, they were wearing regular suits.
Not only were the shooters not dressed as Haredi Jews, every news source that reported the eyewitness account made clear that the shooters were terrorists who had donned Haredi disguises and not Orthodox Jews themselves.
More reputable news sources stayed closer to the facts, but chose to present them as ambiguously as possible. In CNN’s headline, the news agency put the word ‘terrorists’ in quotes, calling the attack a “Tel Aviv shooting”. The body of the article itself failed to mention terror at any point.
Later, CNN corrected their article, writing, “As a result of an editing mistake, an earlier version of this story appeared to call into question whether the Tel Aviv attack was an act of terrorism. It undoubtedly was. The story was corrected.”
The BBC ignored the word altogether, preferring not even to suggest a terror connection. Its headline read, “Tel Aviv shooting: Three killed in shopping centre attack”.
Media watchdog Honest Reporting immediately picked up on the trend, posting examples of misleading media “mess-ups” from all over the world. They pointed out one choice quote from the BBC article:
“It is not clear who carried out the attack. However, there has been a rise in Palestinian attacks on Israelis since last year, with a series of shootings, stabbings and car rammings.”
“Could there possibly be a link between this attack and those from the past several months that have been perpetrated by Palestinians?” Honest Reporting asked sarcastically.
It also quoted an article from Britain’s Sky News, which read, “Since October, 31 Israelis and two Americans have been killed in attacks allegedly carried out by Palestinians.”
The fact that the Palestinian national identity of virtually all the terrorists who have carried out attacks in the last eight months has been confirmed beyond any shadow of a doubt was apparently not relevant to Sky News.
Honest Reporting also called out the Daily Telegraph’s attempt to emphasize the proximity of the attack to the Israeli Defense Ministry, giving an entirely different spin to the story.
“All too often the location of a terrorist attack, be it in the Disputed Territories or at a military base, is used by the media to explain away or even justify Palestinian violence even when the victims are Israeli civilians,” Honest Reporting wrote. “Let it be absolutely clear – this latest terror attack targeted civilians and not security personnel.”
On the other hand, FOX news anchor Greta Van Susteren made a point of defending Israel after the shooting, recording a special video for Facebook to condemn the terror attacks.
“The images out of Israel tonight are horrible,” she said. “Innocent Israelis just out on a nice summer eve in Tel Aviv when terrorists do the unthinkable. And why? Evil. Evil people full of hate towards Israelis.”
She reminded her viewers that Israel is always the first to bring humanitarian aid and international support to other nations in need, and said that it was time for those countries to reciprocate. “As Israel mourns, I hope they hear from many nations that we and they stand with the Israelis. Because they stand always with us,” she concluded.