UKMW prompts correction to Indy article on Iranian drone incident which omitted…the DRONE

In initial reports on Sunday and Monday, following hostilities on Saturday between Israel and Syria, the Iranian drone (which violated Israeli air space and caused the incident) wasn't included in the headline and only appeared further in the article.  However, a recent report in the Independent went a step further, omitting the drone altogether in both the headline and the text. 

“It all started when Israel fired back”, some cheekily say in briefly characterising the media’s distorted framing of conflicts between Israel and its regional foes, such that, when terror groups in Gaza fire rockets into Israel, reports only are published following the Israeli response.  Further, the headline typically leads with something like “Israel launches attack…”, delegating the initial Gaza rocket which started the exchange to either the strap line or somewhere in the opening paragraphs.

To boot, headlines accompanying UK media reports about hostilities in the north over the weekend tended to emphasize Israel’s military response to the Iranian drone’s penetration of Israeli air space, rather than the Iranian drone’s penetration itself.  Often, in these initial reports on Sunday and Monday, the drone wasn’t introduced to readers until the text, and sometimes quite a few paragraphs down.  (UK Media Watch prompted a correction to one Indy article which erroneously claimed that the Iranian drone was shot down over Syria.)

However, a recent report in the Indy went a step further, omitting the drone altogether in both the headline and the text.  Here’s our tweet to Indy correspondent Bethan McKernan in response to her article (Israel vows to continue military campaign in Syria despite warnings another incident could lead to regional conflict, Feb. 14).

The only time the word “drone” appeared anywhere in the article was in a detailed graphic added by editors. But, the sequence of events was not included in the graphic, and even those readers examining the busy graphic wouldn’t have any way of knowing that an Iranian drone in Israeli air space is what caused the conflagration. 

Following our tweet, we contacted Indy editors, who promptly upheld our complaint and added additional language to the second paragraph to clarify the cause of hostilities.

The new words of the article are in bold:

The Israeli warplane was hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire on its return from a bombing raid on Iranian targets in the early hours of Saturday, launched after Israeli military say an Iranian drone penetrated its airspace. Its two crew members survived with non-life-threatening injuries. 

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