Yesterday, a number of newspapers absurdly managed to turn a terrorist into a victim, and the Israeli forces who were trying to arrest him, into attackers. It was a true feat of verbal gymnastics.
And it’s just plain wrong.
What actually happened?
Israeli security forces tracked down Mohamed al Fakih, the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Miki Mark earlier this month. The arrest raid turned into a shootout when Fakih, along with an entire armed cell of terrorists, opened fire on the IDF. Fakih had turned his home into an armed base.
The soldiers returned fire, and after a lengthy shootout, Fakih died in the very gun battle he started.
How did the BBC report this?
Buried at the end of the article, the BBC admitted that “Israeli media reports said” the IDF had fired only in response to Fakih and his armed terror cell.
If the BBC knew all along that a Fakih was killed in a firefight that he started, why didn’t it say so in the headline, the sub-headline, or anywhere in the first five paragraphs of the article?
Why did the BBC report these facts as merely a claim by Israeli media? Why didn’t the BBC independently confirm the truth of these facts, and then report them, appropriately, as simply facts?
How did others report this?
While their headlines were slightly better than the BBC, they nonetheless cover up that 1. Fakih was a terrorist not merely a “gunman,” or a “militant,” and 2. he was shot only after opening fire at Israeli forces.
The Daily Mail’s original headline went so far as to claim that Israeli forces had killed the terrorist in “revenge” even though they were attempting to make an arrest when the terror cell opened fire on them.
The Daily Mail did change their absurdly illogical headline, but not before the article was republished by papers like the Minnesota Daily News and the Wyoming Daily News, who added their own perverse butchery to the headline.
Calling a terror attack anything other than exactly what it is whitewashes its brutality.
But most of all, turning terrorists into victims, and victims into attackers, emboldens would-be terrorists everywhere.
We deserve better.