In a violent terror attack in Jerusalem this week, two Palestinian men stormed into a synagogue carrying hatchets and pistols. Moments later, four Jews were dead and the synagogue was a blood bath. An Israel policeman later succumbed to his wounds, bringing the total dead to five.
If coverage of Operation Protective Edge last summer made a clear case for media bias against Israel, reporting on this week’s gruesome terror attack was a whole new level of media malpractice.
In a serious gaffe, CNN ran a headline reporting a mosque was attacked, not a synagogue. It is not a coincidence that CNN got the story 100% wrong in its initial reports. One doesn’t have to dig deeply into the subconscious to wonder how this happened; CNN had a massacre at a mosque by Israelis on the brain. It was not simply an error, it was a Freudian slip.
CNN also ran the following headline: “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem,” which equated the innocent victims with the butchers who killed them.
According to the Facebook page of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, whose picture appeared with the mosque graphic while being interviewed by CNN, he was so upset about CNN’s coverage that he called the network and demanded an explanation. CNN apologized to Barkat and later issued a public apology. CNN also said they would conduct an internal investigation to try to get to the bottom of what actually happened. Good luck with that.
Sure, CNN apologized but the damage that was caused as millions of viewers around the world were misled about this awful attack was already done.
Distorted coverage across the Western media continued, as news outlets deliberately left out the fact that Palestinians were responsible for the violent murders in the Har Nof Synagogue. There is something in the air that these news agencies breathe that convinces them that Israel is automatically guilty no matter what the facts are.
The CBC ran this headline: “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack.”
The Guardian received a wire dispatch from Reuters that said: ‘Palestinians kill four in Jerusalem synagogue attack’. But the Guardian’s website changed the headline by leaving the word Palestinians out altogether: “Four worshippers killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue”
CBS anchor woman Nora O’Donnell said that the attack occurred at a “contested religious site” when in fact Har Nof is a synagogue in West Jerusalem in a 100% ultra-orthodox neighborhood. To get this story wrong means that whoever wrote the copy either didn’t do the slightest bit of fact checking or that the atmosphere in the newsroom is so utterly corrupted by a hatred of Israel that they were willing to sabotage their own credibility. Are these really errors? Or is this malice?
Later that morning, when Economy Minister Naftali Bennett showed a picture of one of the Jewish victims of the attack, the BBC asked him not to show the picture prompting British Journalist Jake Wallis Simons to tweet:
“BBC refuses to show picture of murdered Jewish worshiper. Didn’t have a problem with dead Gazans, I recall.”
The BBC has attained a new level of hypocrisy and denial. During Operation Protective Edge last summer, BBC viewers were treated to a parade of pictures of injured innocent children in Gaza with many pictures later proven to be not only from dubious sources but in many cases doctored or from the conflict in Syria. Pictures of Jewish victims however, are not fit to air.
As a lifelong journalist, watching the news coverage of this terrible event made me feel totally defeated. The fact that so many news organizations got it wrong indicates to me that this is not a matter of coincidental error, this is the Big Lie in action.
This article was originally published on November 19, 2014 by the Times of Israel