If, last week, you were to ask a Manchester Evening News editor how his media outlet would cover the hypothetical murder of a Jew by an antisemitic extremist, there’s little doubt that his reaction would be one of bemusement. “Naturally'”, he’d likely say, “we’d frame it in a way that evokes outrage over the racist killing, whilst expressing sympathy towards the Jewish victim”.
Okay, you continue, but what about if that incident occurred in Jerusalem, the racist perpetrator was Palestinian and the victim was an Israeli Jew?
As CAMERA has consistently demonstrated, this is where editors’ moral clarity is usually overridden by narratives – simple truth replaced by what some pro-Palestinian journalists have termed “contextualised truth” – newspeak which calls for journalists to avoid telling the truth if to do so would obscure the broader ‘truth’ of “Israel’s oppression of Palestinians”.
On Sunday morning a Palestinian Hamas member, Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, dressed as an orthodox Jew drew a sub-machine near the Chain Gate, which leads to the Temple Mount site, and opened fire on passersby, injuring three and killing Eliyahu David Kay, a recent immigrant to the country.
Here’s how Manchester Evening News framed it:
- Not only does the headline lead with the death of the Palestinian (Hamas terrorist), but it fails to identify him as a Hamas terrorist.
- Not only does it reduce the specific racist murder of a Jewish man to a generic “holy site killing”, but it avoids all reference to the Jewish victim.
- The word “terror” absent as well.
It’s also important to remember that, unlike us insiders, your average Mancunian likely isn’t an expert on the conflict, and such articles may represent the only source of information on the incident. So, how would such news consumers process “Palestinian shot dead after holy site killing”? It seems possible, if not likely, that it would register within the cognitive sphere of ‘another Palestinian killed’ in the long-running dispute over Jerusalem holy sites.
It’s quite telling that even the Guardian got it right:
Finally, let’s compare the Manchester Evening News headline above with their headline reporting on the London Bridge terror attack in 2019, in which Islamic extremists went on a car-ramming an stabbing spree – a terror event that ultimately claimed eight lives and injured dozens.
Unlike their headline on the Jerusalem incident:
- It’s clear that what occurred was a “terror” attack.
- It leads with the death of two of the terror attack victims.
- It’s clear that the person shot was the terror suspect.
In both incidents, the perpetrator(s) were motivated by extremism and the desire to murder innocent people for their hateful, racist cause. Yet, in the former, the victim-perpetrator dynamic is blurred, and the intrinsic evil of a man murdering a Jew because he is a Jew obfuscated, erased.
(Though just before this post was to be published, Manchester Evening News tweeted an apology for “any offence caused” by the headline.)
- Owen Jones doesn’t know what he’s talking about (CAMERA UK)