Like most major news outlets, The New York Times’ current report on today’s news from Gaza reads: “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem”. However, things weren’t quite so clear in their initial headline and their tweet description posted on Monday night.
In sharp contrast to the piece’s current headline, The New York Times tweeted: “Dozens of Palestinians have died in protests as the US prepares to open its Jerusalem Embassy”. The fact that the description neither ascribed the act to Israel nor employed the word “kill” sparked outrage on Twitter. Israeli forces killed at least 52 Palestinians and wounded 2400 others in the protest.
The tweet’s use of passive description, which conspicuously downplays the killings and omits facts, gave rise to hashtag “#HaveDied“. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald was among many journalists to censure the Times over their inaccurate reporting.
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“Most Western media outlets have become quite skilled — through years of practice — at writing headlines and describing Israeli massacres using the passive tense so as to hide the culprit. But the all-time champion has long been, and remains, The New York Times,” he wrote.
Guardian contributor Jack Seale responded to the Times report with a widely shared comment: “How did they die, can you try to find out?” And former Australian senator Scott Ludlam expressed similar disapproval over the tweet:
CNN is now facing rising scrutiny of their own headline — “Dozens die in Gaza as US Embassy opens in Jerusalem” — which similarly employs passive language and omits facts as to who conducted the killing.