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Media Analyses





Newspaper Headlines Omit Terror Perpetrators


Newspaper headlines about the Hamas terrorist bombing in Jerusalem — for which the death tally has now reached 17 — and Israel's strike against Hamas in Gaza that killed four members of that organization and five bystanders have very often failed to represent events clearly.

Rather than identify Palestinians (or Hamas) as the perpetrator of the bus atrocity, many publications omit completely any naming of the killers, preferring anonymous phrasing such as “bus blast kills.” Others fail to identify the Palestinian perpetrator but readily name Israel as taking reprisal action in Gaza against Hamas. Still other headlines blur the two events and combine casualty statistics, suggesting the targeted Hamas members who plan and carry out terrorism are as innocent as the murdered bus victims. Headlines telegraph readers the supposed essentials of an event. Continually omitting reference to the words “Palestinian” or “Hamas” in reference to terrorist attacks obscures the responsibility of the perpetrators.

Below is a list of headlines from American, Canadian and British newspapers, many of which failed to state forthrightly the identity of perpetrators of the Jerusalem attack. The Boston Globe was among the few major papers to use direct, clear language.

1) Headline omits naming Palestinian as perpetrator of terror attack

Daily News (New York), June 12, 2003, Thursday, "Hell On Earth In Holy Land:Bus blast kills 16 in Jerusalem"

Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2003 "Bus Blast in Israel Kills 16; Army Retaliates; Violence Endangers Peace Effort"

Toronto Star, June 12, 2003 Thursday "Suicide blast kills 16"

The Washington Post, June 12, 2003 "Jerusalem Bus Bomb Kills 17 as Strife Rises; Airstrikes in Gaza Kill 9 Palestinians; Bush Plan Is Tested"

The Wichita Eagle, June 12, 200 "Suicide bomber kills 16 on Jerusalem bus"

2) Headline omits naming Palestinian as perpetrator of terror attack — but names Israel in strike at Hamas

Birmingham Post, June 12, 2003, Bus Bomb Outrage, Then Israeli Missiles Kill Nine"

The New York Times, June 12, 2003 "Suicide Blast Kills 16 in Jerusalem; Israel Strikes Gaza"

The Ottawa Sun, June 12, 2003 "Suicide Bomber Blows Up Bus: Israel Hits Back With Rockets"

Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), June 12, 2003 "Bus Bomber Kills 16: Israel Strikes Back With Missiles; 9 Palestinians Die; Bush's 'Road Map' Dealt Another Blow"

The Tallahassee Democrat, June 12, 2003 "Attacks convulse Mideast; Israelis retaliate in Gaza after deadly bombing of bus"

3) Headline blurs events, combines Israeli losses to Palestinian terror attack and victims of Israel's strike at Hamas

Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2003 "27 die in Jerusalem, Gaza; Bus bombing, gunship strikes put peace plan in jeopardy"

The Guardian (London), June 12, 2003 "Day of carnage leaves Middle East in chaos: Israel and Hamas count the dead"

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2003 "Violence Tests Road Map"

The Times (London), June 12, 2003 "Middle East peace hopes fade as 26 die in attacks"

4)Headline explicitly blames Israel for setback in road map

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio), June 12, 2003 "Suicide bomber kills 16 on bus; Peace hopes suffer as Israel retaliates after blast in Jerusalem"

5) Headline names Palestinian perpetrator of terror attack

The Boston Globe, June 12, 2003, "16 killed As Palestinian Blows Up Jerusalem Bus Israeli Raids Follow In Gaza; Nine Die"



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