Many of us who read the Guardian’s headline accompanying a Reuters report last night on a Gaza rocket attack on southern Israel, and the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) subsequent response, were surprised how relatively fair and accurate it was.
As the report notes in the second paragraph, the incident began on Saturday when terrorists in Gaza launched rockets into southern Israel. In response the IAF targeted four Hamas terror training camps. Two Palestinian children, who lived close to the terror base, were reportedly killed by missile fragments that struck the Hamas military target.
Here’s the original Guardian headline:
However, at some point after the article was published, editors changed the headline and strap line.
Here’s how it looks now:
So, the important context about the IAF strike which appeared in the original headline (the rocket attack from Gaza) was removed, and relegated to the strap line.
Additionally, note the change in words to describe the Palestinian victims to suggest greater Israeli responsibility. In the original, we’re told merely that “a Gaza boy dies“, whilst in the revised headline editors make clear that “Israel kills“.
Finally, the revised strap line resulted in the removal of text indicating that the IAF successfully hit four terror training bases. This is important information, as it suggests to readers that the civilian casualties were unintended, and that the close proximity of civilian homes to ‘the training bases’ indicate Hamas’s use of human shields. (In fairness, the third paragraph of the article does note that the home where the children lived is close to the terror base.)
In short, Guardian editors scrapped a headline and strap line that originally included the accurate sequence of events and some edifying context – evidently deemed too ‘pro-Israel’ – and decided instead to once again go with a version designed to impute maximum Israeli guilt.