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November 11, 2015

Phila. Inquirer Headlines Go Easy on Attackers

The following letter to the editor was sent to The Philadelphia inquirer, but went unpublished:

"Dear Editor:
Recent Inquirer headlines “U.S. Educator Dies in Israel� (October 28) and “Israelis Kill 3 Palestinians� (October 27) have the potential to mislead readers by not accurately reflecting the news articles beneath.

The article itself makes clear that American-born Israeli educator Richard Lakin did not just “die� in Israel; he was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Lakin’s son told The New York Times his 73-year old father was the victim of Palestinian “incitement and hate.� Yet, the headline could lead readers to mistakenly infer that Lakin just happen to pass away.

Similarly, Israelis did not just happen to “kill 3 Palestinians� without justification as readers might infer from the headline. Again, as the article beneath the headline notes, three Palestinian Arab terrorists were killed by Israeli security forces after attacking Israelis, both civilian and soldiers, with knives. The headline fails to convey essential facts regarding both the chronology and causation leading to the death of the terrorists.

Space restrictions can make headline writing challenging. However, precise terminology and chronology must be used to prevent readers from drawing false inferences. We trust that in the future Inquirer headlines on contentious issues such as these will accurately represent the stories they summarize.


Sean Durns

CAMERA--Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America"

Posted by SD at November 11, 2015 11:28 AM


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