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Media Analyses

Voice of America Fixes Headline, Admits Casualties Were Attackers

After two Palestinian terrorists who opened fire on a bus stop and a third attacker who rammed his car into a military vehicle at the same location were killed by Israeli security forces during the attacks, a headline by the Voice of America made it seem as if the Palestinians were arbitrary victims of Israeli violence. "Three Palestinians Killed in West Bank Attacks," the taxpayer-funded news organization announced.

voice of america headline three palestinians killed

The headline is self-evidently misleading. That being the case, it also does not follow VOA's style in reporting on violent attacks. When a Voice of America headline announced, "Afghan IS Leader Killed in Drone Strike," it of course didn't mean the ISIS leader was busy piloting a drone when he was killed. It meant he was on the receiving end of a drone strike.

Likewise, the VOA headline "180-200 Kenyan Soldiers Killed in January Attack" was not a story about an attack by the Kenyan troops. It was an attack against the soldiers, who were at their base when al-Shabab militants targeted them in an offensive.

CAMERA contacted Voice of America editors to inform them that their headline was misleading — another of a perturbing spate of media headlines that mischaracterized Palestinian violence against Israelis. By the next day, editors replaced the old headline with a new, more informative one: "Israel Military Kills Three West Bank Attackers." (Interestingly, though, the word "Palestinian" disappeared from the new headline referencing attackers.)

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