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October 23, 2015

CNN Headline Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is defined as “a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements.� This certainly applies to CNN headlines for articles about two separate but similar events.

An armed man attacks school children and is killed by security forces.

CNN headlined the story, “Sword-wielding man kills 2 in Swedish school attack.�

CNN school attack sweden b.jpg

You see, the emphasis is on the attacker’s actions. That is the genesis of the story. The headline does not even mention that the killer was himself killed. But, that was in Sweden, with Swedish school children and Swedish security forces.

In Israel, two armed men tried to board a school bus full of children, were prevented from doing so by people on the bus, then stabbed a man waiting at a bus stop. They were shot and wounded by security forces and were taken to a hospital, along with their victim. One of the terrorists later died of his wounds.

Does the CNN headline read, “Knife-wielding attackers stab civilian after trying to board school bus full of children�?

No. The original headline does not even mention the victim. Instead, it makes the Palestinian terrorists into the victims, reading “Armed Palestinians shot after trying to board bus with children on board�.

CNN school attack Israel b.jpg

These are similar incidents but CNN handles them in contradictory and incompatible ways.

A revised, slightly better but still inadequate, headline reads, as of this writing, “Knife-wielding Palestinians shot after stabbing Israeli man�. While mentioning the victim of the stabbing, though now ignoring the terrorized children, the headline also presents the Palestinian assailants as victims.

CNN school attack Israel 2.JPG

Since most readers simply scan headlines and never read the accompanying articles, they never get the full story – even if the article is accurate, which it frequently is not. Extra care must be used by editors when writing these important phrases. In this case, CNN could use some therapy.

Posted by SC at October 23, 2015 11:39 AM


There are two statements in this story:

1. Schizophrenia is defined as “a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements.�

2. Two similar incidents treated by CNN in contradictory and incompatible ways.

One can deduce that indeed CNN is schizophrenic. Or, one can deduce that for CNN the two incidents are not similar. In one incident, it is innocent Swedish kids being menaced. In the other incident it is Israeli settler thugs being resisted.

When you consider the logic that animates CNN and decides its ethics, you realize this makes perfect sense.

CNN "tend to use language as Homer says

the gods do. All human words are known to the gods but
have for them entirely other meanings alongside our meanings.

They flip the switch at will�.

Posted by: Contentious centrist at October 23, 2015 01:01 PM

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