The uninitiated reader spying the BBC’s initial headline about this morning’s terrorist attack in Yerushalayim – “Driver hits pedestrians in Jerusalem” – could have been forgiving for thinking that this was a report of a traffic accident in Israel’s capital.
The accompanying tease – “A driver rams a car into several pedestrians in East Jerusalem” – communicated the sense that most of the victims were Palestinians, since this part of the city is predominantly Arab.
Then, the headline was changed to the more accurate “Jerusalem attack: New Palestinian car attack kills one,” prompting media watchdog Honest Reporting to ask, “Is the BBC asking to be ridiculed? Draw your own conclusions.”
The latest headline on the story reads “Jerusalem attack: Netanyahu blames incitement.” No explicit mention is made of the death in the attack of a police officer, Capt. Jidan Assad, 38, from the Druze village of Beit Jaan.
Media analysts have consistently pointed to a trend of inaccurate and misleading headlines concerning Palestinian terrorist attacks upon Israelis from a range of media outlets. On October 23, for example, the Associated Press reported the murder of of a three month-old baby, U.S. citizen Chaya Zissel Braun, in another Jerusalem attack with the headline, “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.”
“The BBC and several other news organizations appear to be going out of their way to avoid a headline that clearly names the perpetrator and victims of today’s terror attack,” Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst with media monitor CAMERA, told The Algemeiner in an email. “The current BBC headline, ‘Jerusalem attack: Netanyahu blames incitement,’ is perhaps better than the one used by Voice of America, ‘Car Hits Crowd of Pedestrians in Jerusalem,’ which seems to describe a routine traffic accident. But neither is particularly clear about what happened.” Ini praised the Associated Press for getting it right this time. “The Associated Press, which failed so terribly with its headline two weeks ago, this time shows how to pithily convey the key details of the story: ‘Palestinian kills Israeli in Jerusalem car attack,'” he said.