Manchester Evening News blurs Jewish victim and antisemitic perpetrator

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.)

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  1. says: Grimey

    Tweeting an apology after perpetrating an intentional anti-Semitic report is like saying sorry after committing a murder. The damage can not – and will not – be undone – and the perpetrator knows that full well.

  2. says: Richard Turnbull

    @ Grimey –
    The article here dissects and refutes the propagandistic slants conclusively.
    It remains unclear if there is some tension between reporters and editors within
    the Manchester Evening News, such that their reporting might not have been carefully edited or even edited at all, and the headline selected before more fair-minded persons realized they should apologize for “any offense caused.”
    If it is the case that someone who makes decisions about this kind of headline sincerely regrets both the headline itself, and the facts about blatant biases adduced by Adam’s analysis, that person should clarify that’s what is going on.

  3. says: Joy Wolfe

    I was. Responsible for contacting the editor who turned out to be someone who worked for me in her first job in journalism. The paper has a crazy system regarding editorial oversight of the paper, and she. Totally accepted the headline was unacceptable, apologised, published the apology yand put it online. She is very friendly towards Israel and very approachable. She replied in an email to me immediately once my complaint had been passed on to her

    Joy Wolfe MBE

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