The Times of Israel initially reported the brutal murder of Hallel Ariel this past Thursday with the following headline:
“Israeli girl, 13, stabbed to death by Palestinian in her West Bank bedroom.”
Several people immediately took issue with this headline. One particular blogger declared that this headline was so objectionable that he would no longer write blog posts on the Times of Israel site. In his blog, he actually accuses the Times of Israel of using the term “West Bank“ in order to imply that because she lived there, she had it coming to her.
Here is a direct quote from the above-mentioned blog post.
I read and re-read those words, and my blood began to boil. How dare the Times of Israel make the location of this girl’s murder a part of the story!? It was as if the fact that she was in the “West Bank” almost made the murder understandable. It was as if the Times of Israel was saying that we can “understand” (MY words, not theirs) why this happened.
I don’t see how the Times of Israel made the location of the murder “a part of the story.” It is part of the story. I don’t think it’s a stretch to indicate the location of a crime in the headline. Without doing any research, I am pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of terror attack headlines tell you where the attack occurred. Could they have written Kiryat Arba or Yehuda V’Shomron instead of West Bank? Possibly, but the Times of Israel reaches a wide-ranging audience, so it would make sense to use the term which is familiar to the largest segment of their readership.
Let’s take a look at another recent terror attack headline from the New York Times.
“Orlando Gunman Attacks Gay Nightclub, Leaving 50 Dead”
According to the logic of the Times of Israel critics, it would seem that the New York Times was implying that the victims deserved to be killed because they were gay.
This was obviously not their intention when they added that descriptive piece of information to the headline. I am similarly confident that the headline writer for the Times of Israel in no way whatsoever meant to say that somehow this murder was “understandable” because Hallel Ariel lived in the West Bank.
These false accusations against the Times of Israel relate to a bigger issue. There are publications and news outlets that do actually print egregious headlines. If the headline had said “Occupied West Bank” then we would have something to talk about. That would be making a political statement on what should just be a factually based story. There are important organizations such as HonestReporting and CAMERA that spend a lot of time, effort, and money to correct serious media bias against Israel, and crying wolf like this only serves to undermine their efforts.
Enough with the artificially created divisive issues that plague our people. There is enough serious media bias against Israel without having to make stuff up.