Media Can Tell Readers Who’s Killing Whom–When They Want To

If you’ve been noticing the headlines about Israeli forces killing Palestinian protesters that seem carefully designed to avoid mentioning who’s doing the killing, you may be wondering: Is that how media always do it? The answer is no: Journalists know very well how to include the identity of the killers in the headline—when they think that’s information that’s important for the reader to know.

As in Syria (New York Times, 3/25/11):


Or Myanmar (New York Times, 1/17/18):

In Senegal (AP, 1/30/12):

And in India (AP,  5/6/18):

I can’t say there aren’t some signs of improvement in Gaza coverage, though—uneven though they may be. On Twitter (5/14/18), BuzzFeed‘s Elamin Abdelmahmoud juxtaposed two of the more obfuscatory headlines:

(National Post, 5/14/18)


(Toronto Star, 5/14/18)

Abdelmahmoud contrasted this with the same two stories in two different newspapers—bearing headlines that straightforwardly explained who was killing whom:

(Boston Globe, 5/14/18)


(Washington Post, 5/14/18)

And the Toronto Star, perhaps as a result of the social media discussion, changed its headline to the far more forthright “Israeli Soldiers Shoot and Kill at Least 55 Palestinians During Mass Protests in Gaza.” So journalists do know how to convey to readers who’s responsible for mass slaughter—sometimes even when it’s Israel doing the slaughtering.

Thanks to @fudgeposner for spotting many of these headlines.

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission from FAIR.