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Caught: Lying about Israel and Jews

Photo edits of the news go viral on social media platforms.

It started as a trend. Now, it is pervasive on the internet. For social media users, it is a tool that has taken fact checking and education to a new level. “Headline editing” has targeted mainstream media bias with devastating effect. The objective is simple. Social media users are creating eye-catching photo edits of media bias in real time.

The impact of these social media posts is powerful. It has eroded confidence and reliability of news reporting at its very core. If the trend continues, the social media generation will become the news reporters, and mainstream outlets will be irrelevant.

Many initially thought that viral “headline edits” of news events would cause news conglomerates to address this frontal assault on their integrity. It has not. Online editors continue their work unfazed by getting caught in the act of agenda-driven reporting.

News resources have been slow to recognize the issue. The reason? They see no consequence to their actions. Jews around the world, and Israelis in particular, are on the front lines of this battle. They have identified that the overwhelming target of media bias online takes aim at the State of Israel, its institutions, and global democracy.

Headlines appear to consistently go out of their way to downplay terror attacks, murder, rioting and criminality. Chillingly, reports of terrorism go unreported. Instead, the same news sources turn the truth on its head and make victims out of terrorists. Meanwhile, the true victims are the bodies of civilians, IDF, and law enforcement.

Today, Jewish, and Israeli social media warriors scan news headlines for bias and downright lies. Screenshots and edits ridicule reports for inaccuracies. Captions to these creative and biting “edit memes” read simply: “Fixed it for you” and tag the offending news media outlet.

The headline “edits” on social media have had the devastating effect of shining the bright light of truth and accountability on mainstream media. On occasion, the spotlight has embarrassed and resulted in “panic editing” by the offending news outlets. Unfortunately, those cases are exceedingly rare.

The examples are blatant and insult the intelligence of readers. A recent headline read: “Four killed in new attack in Israel.” The facts were indisputable. First, it was five people. Second, it was a terror attack at a restaurant. Third, the video of the incident shows that victims were gunned down.

Social media users pounced on the piece by crossing out “killed” and replaced it with “murdered” and added the word “terror” to the headline. The edits to the headline went viral worldwide. Israeli and Diaspora stars, leaders, athletes, and day-to-day users created stories, posts, and videos. The “edit” posting not only shamed the news resource, but it told the truth. No agenda. No bias.

The media’s viewpoint on this trend is clear. The murder of Jews is an everyday norm to them. The story does not have a politically correct or agenda supporting shock value. That is why it continues unabated. Until mainstream media cleans up its act, the edits will continue. It therefore begs the question. Have they no shame? Presently, they do not care. That is why the “edits” must continue.

About the Author
Michael "Scott" Cushing serves as Special Advisor to the Nassau County Executive on the Combating Antisemitism Task Force. He also serves on the Community Advisory Board of Northwell Long Island Jewish Hospital, Valley Stream, New York. Further, he is former Publisher and Editorial writer for the Gateway-Bulletin Newspapers. He served in senior staff positions for the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate for over twenty years. He is active in Israeli and Jewish affairs in Nassau County.
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