CNN, BBC, NBC Publish Misleading Headlines on Palestinian Terror Attacks

CNN sign
AP Photo/Ric Feld

TEL AVIV – CNN, BBC, and NBC all published misleading headlines in their reports on three separate terror attacks that shook Israel on Tuesday, either portraying the Palestinian terrorists as victims or failing to mention them at all.

Within hours of each other, Palestinian assailants attacked people in three cities in Israel, wounding 15 and killing American tourist and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force. In all three cases, the terrorists were killed.

The BBC’s headline failed to identify the terrorists as Palestinian:

“One killed and several wounded in attacks on Israelis,” the headline read.

Meanwhile, the International Business Times did not mention the victims at all and gave no context to its headline: “Three Palestinians shot dead as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives for talks.”

Apparently confusing the victims with the attackers, NBC ran a bizarre headline that read, “American tourist killed amid Israeli stabbing violence as Biden arrives for talks.”

The Irish Times also seemed to indicate that the Palestinian terrorist was an Israeli, writing, “American dies after 10 stabbed by lone Tel Aviv attacker.” The equally appalling sub-header made no mention of the Palestinians as perpetrators either: “Four Palestinians shot dead after attacks across Israel as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visits.”

CNN, for its part, seems unclear on what defines a terrorist. The headline it wrote included the word “terrorist” in quotation marks: “‘Terrorist’ kills U.S. tourist, wounds 10 others in Israel – near Biden visit site.”

Media watchdog took CNN to task:

Why the scare quotes? What exactly is so in doubt that CNN can’t call out a terrorist for what he actually is? Why the reluctance to hold Palestinian terrorists accountable? When it happens in any other country there is no hesitation in referring to terrorists and terror attacks. It seems that it’s only a question when the targets are Israeli Jews, as though they are any less victims than citizens of other countries.

Later on in the article, CNN again employed inappropriate quotation marks when it quoted Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld’s account of the attack:

“Rosenfeld tweeted that one person was ‘murdered’ and 10 were taken to hospital after Tuesday’s attack along the Mediterranean Sea,” CNN’s report said.

As notes,

Apparently the word “murdered” was deemed too strong or subjective to describe what happened without using quotation marks. Why was it necessary to go to measures to avoid stating outright the undeniable fact that an American tourist, Taylor Force, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist?

CNN later removed the scare quotes from its headlines but did not point to Palestinian culpability, instead rephrasing it to read “Israel terror attack.”

Editor’s Note: Some of the headlines mentioned in this article were later amended.  The original headlines are all documented with screenshots at


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