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CNN has issued an apology for the onscreen text it used during its coverage of an attack by two Palestinians on a Jerusalem synagogue.
The attack happened inside an ultra-Orthodox synagogue early Tuesday morning local time. Two ax-wielding Palestinians killed four worshipers during prayer, among them three U.S.-born rabbis and a Druze police officer who tried to come to the victims’ rescue.
CNN’s senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman reported on the attack with an onscreen graphic that read ”Police Shot, Killed 2 Palestinians,” pertaining solely to conclusion of the violent episode, when Israeli police killed both gunmen.
While local outlets reported the events as a terrorist attack, CNN’s onscreen text was later revised to read “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem,” still not mentioning the Palestinians’ role and the full nature of the events. In a final update, a third graphic read “Deadly attack on Jerusalem mosque” without further details being provided.
“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. We erred and regret the mistake,” CNN said in a statement that was posted on Israeli news websites late Tuesday local time.
Throughout the day, media outlets in Israel ran stories about the CNN coverage, suggesting a bias by the Turner news network and Wedeman, resurfacing claims of anti-Israeli reporting that made for heated discussions during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Social media also played a part in the Israeli public’s outrage, with a provocative Photoshopped Internet meme surfacing and going viral within hours. It criticized CNN by showing a made-up 9/11 coverage headline reading “8 Saudi men die in plane accidents.”
Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren took to his official Facebook page to voice his fury, saying “CNN – ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! How would America react to the headline: ‘3,000 Americans and 19 Arabs killed on 9/11’? You broke all bounds!”
Oren then went on to appear on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper Tuesday night to discuss the attack.
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