Barrage of Bias: Horrendous Headlines

Headlines often set the entire tone of an article and are the first things that the reader sees. The events of the past few days have generated some horrendous headlines. Here are just a few that we spotted:

Perhaps the worst headline belonged to The Independent, which attributed to Israel uniquely malevolent qualities. Was Israel really only out for “revenge” on Palestinians as a whole rather than any obvious military objectives such as defending its civilians from rocket attacks and targeting terrorists? Not according to The Independent.

If it wasn’t a terrorist attack then what was it? The Christian Science Monitor isn’t quite sure, putting the word “terrorist” in quotation marks. Why not simply state that the attacks were carried out by Gaza terrorists instead of “militants”?

The Daily Telegraph needs reminding exactly who was responsible for the terrorist attack in the first place. Aside from the now standard use of the term “militant”, this headline implies that the Israelis were the initiators of the incident, apparently carrying out a cross-border “raid” rather than engaging terrorists who had already attacked Israeli civilians.

The Daily Telegraph continued with another headline which could easily be misinterpreted to imply that the terrorist attack was passively aimed at the “Egyptian border” rather than Israeli civilian targets.

The Financial Times seemed to make it perfectly clear who was responsible for every casualty of both the initial Palestinian terrorist attack and the Israeli response, lumping everything into “Israel attacks”.

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A day later, the FT also followed up with a headline that drew a moral equivalence between Palestinian terror and Israeli responses.

Irrespective of the accuracy or otherwise of the article itself, headlines are important. Five times more people read the headline than the actual text of the article itself.

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