Spinning the death of a terrorist: Defining deviancy dead

Israel released previously classified information on the assassination of Abu Jihad, the co-founder of the PLO and terrorist responsible for multiple attacks on Israeli civilians. And the news media manages to impugn Israel without really telling you that Abu Jihad was responsible–and celebrated–for the murders of 125 Israel.

The Los Angeles Times:

Wazir, one of the founders of the Fatah Party and a top aide to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was viewed by Israel as a terrorist and by Palestinians as a freedom fighter.

The BBC leads with this:

Abu Jihad – whose real name was Khalil al-Wazir – founded the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) with Yasser Arafat and was blamed for a string of deadly attacks on Israelis.

And covers the terrorist’s background without mentioning the 125 deaths:

In his account of the operation, Nahum Lev said: “I had read every page of the file on him. Abu Jihad was connected to horrific acts against civilians. He was marked for death. I shot him with no hesitation.”

The AP leads with the generic “attacks against Israelis” and goes into detail towards the end of a long article. Of course, the first three to five paragraphs are all most people read.

Khalil al-Wazir, who was better known by his nom de guerre Abu Jihad, founded Fatah, the dominant faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with Arafat and was blamed for a series of deadly attacks against Israelis.

Here is what the shorter version of the AP story looks like in most newspapers. Note the headline. That’s what the AP originally titled the piece, and it’s what is on many versions of the story.

Israel owns up to killing Arafat aide
Israel acknowledged Thursday that it killed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s deputy in a 1988 raid in Tunisia, lifting a nearly 25-year veil of secrecy.

Khalil al-Wazir, who was better known as Abu Jihad, founded Fatah, the dominant faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with Arafat and was blamed for a series of deadly attacks against Israelis.

Israel has long been suspected of assassinating al-Wazir. But only now has the country’s military censor cleared the Yediot Ahronot daily to publish the information.

Abbas Zaki, a top official in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, said the Palestinians and Tunisia should now “work to bring Israel to justice.”

Note the moral equivalence: The AP highlights the Palestinian effort for “justice” in the case of an assassinated terrorist without saying he was responsible for the deaths of 125 Israelis and the injuries of hundreds more.

The CNN article goes on and on about the assassination and does not mention a single terror attack. Its spin is that Israel killed Abu Jihad because he was an architect of the first “intifada”. And it also brings up the conspiracy theory about Yasser Arafat being poisoned. This is as close as CNN comes to covering Abu Jihad’s terrorism.

The newspaper initially released a few of Lev’s reported quotes, including one in which he said he shot Abu Jihad with no hesitation after reading the file that Israeli intelligence had on him. He said what he read connected the Palestinian leader to horrific acts against civilians.

The AFP can’t even be bothered to mention Abu Jihad’s terrorist past.

It is utterly reprehensible that the focus is on the assassination of a Palestinian leader, instead of on the reason why he was assassinated. There was, for instance, the Coastal Road Massacre, in which 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were murdered and 71 wounded. Eleven Israelis were killed during the Savoy Hotel attack. Neither of these attacks found their way into the stories about Abu Jihad’s assassination.

Anti-Israel media bias? Yeah, we got that. I’ve been writing about it for over a decade now, and it shows no signs of disappearing.

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