News outlets have performed torturous linguistic contortions to avoid stating the simple fact that Israel is shooting hundreds of demonstrators with live ammunition, killing 30 and injuring close to 2,000. An Associated Press headline (4/6/18) said, “Palestinian Protesters Burn Tires, Sending Smoke Billowing at Gaza/Israel Border; Israeli Troops Fire Back Sporadically.” That’s a logical impossibility: Israeli forces cannot “fire back” at people who aren’t firing at them. The sentence rests on the absurd assumption that burning tires is the same as shooting people.
Another AP headline (4/7/18) said, “Gaza Buries Journalist Who Died After Covering Mass Protests,” a reference to Palestinian journalist Yasser Murtaja, whom Israel shot while he filmed Friday’s march in Gaza. Readers could conclude from the headline that Murtaja covered the protests and then went home and died of natural causes. In reality, he died because an Israeli sniper shot him.
The New York Times (4/6/18) tweeted this cryptic news brief: “Sporadic rifle fire from the Israeli side of the Gaza border made clear that the Palestinian protests could elicit the sort of response that killed 20 people a week ago.” Not only does the headline seriously muddy what happened, it also primes readers to blame Palestinians for being massacred, by saying their protests “elicited” the massacre, which was merely a “response” to Palestinian actions.