Foreign press group rejects claims it supports terror

Foreign Ministry spokesman accused media outlets of inadvertently encouraging evil with misleading headlines about Tuesday’s attack

CNN mislabels Har Nof terrorism as "mosque" attack (screen capture: HonestReporting)
CNN mislabels Har Nof terrorism as "mosque" attack (screen capture: HonestReporting)

The Foreign Press Association on Wednesday dismissed accusations by a Foreign Ministry official that some media outlets were essentially supporting terror by inaccurately reporting on a Jerusalem terror attack Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon raked the foreign press over the coals in a statement distributed to diplomatic reporters on Tuesday, saying, “Tendentious and false reports are designed to distort reality, to blacken the State of Israel and practically – though not always intentionally – they provide support to terror.”

The FPA, an umbrella group for reporters in Israel, responded in a statement saying, “Whatever the merits or faults of any individual news reports Mr. Nahshon may have in mind, we reject this blanket condemnation of foreign media.”

“We think his emotive words are inappropriate for an Israeli government official responsible for working with foreign journalists, not least at a time of increased tensions and accusations of political incitement in the region where we work,” the group said.

Nahshon said that the Foreign Ministry had instructed Israeli diplomats abroad to work with foreign media outlets to fix inaccuracies in coverage.

In the immediate wake of an attack by two Palestinian terrorists from East Jerusalem on a synagogue in the western Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, numerous foreign media outlets used questionable headlines in reporting on what Israeli officials called a “massacre.” Four Jewish men at prayer were killed in the attack, and a policeman later died after being shot by one of the terrorists.

CNN issued an apology for failing to distinguish between the victims and the attackers when it used the headline, “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack, police say.” At one point, it also called the assault a “Deadly Attack on Jerusalem Mosque.”

“As CNN updated its reporting on the terrorist attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem earlier today, our coverage did not immediately reflect the fact that the two Palestinians killed were the attackers,” the network said in an apologetic statement. “We erred and regret the mistake.”

While CNN took the harshest criticism, it was hardly the only offender in the Western press. The Canadian Broadcast Company, for instance, failed to even mention the Jewish victims in an initial report on the attack.

However, the network later updated its headline to reflect the Israeli casualties as its coverage continued.

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