Myth-busting: a tale of two shooters

The tweet was arresting in its claim of media bias. But was it true?

  1. When I saw that the Montgomery County Pennsylvania shootings were trending in Australia, I discovered this tweet from Harris Zafar, an adjuct professor/author/advocate.
  2. It's a testament to my jaundiced view of media that my first instinct was to retweet.
  3. And then my rational brain kicked in: when something seems too good or too bad to be true, step away from the keyboard. Because it usually isn't true!
  4. A quick look at Memeorandum -- my go to site for trending political news -- showed that it did not support a claim of widespread racism. In fact, it did not support a claim of any racism in headlines.
  5. Then I decided to look at the home pages for each of the media organizations on his chart: ABC, BBC, CBS, FOX, NBC and Al Jazeera.
  6. Note: I was wrong, I was focused on the main headline.
  7. There is a video that states the shooter is Iranian. It is a short story specifically identifying the shooter. In that context, the country-of-origin headline may be a legitimate representation of the story. In my opinion. (And I am loath to defend FOX.) It's not unlike the current home page ABC headline which says the PA shooter is a Marine. If the PA shooter were a foreign national, I'm 90% certain that would be in headlines by now.
  8. Is it legitimate to refer to refer to Man Haron Monis as a sheikh in the context of his wife's murder? I don't know. However, this story/headline is not about the hostage situation.
  9. Is his nationality or religious affiliation a legitimate part of the story? I have not followed it closely enough to have an opinion, but this headline suggests the answer might be yes:
  10. Regarding the CBS claim, Zafar tweeted:

  11. But here's the problem with that defense:
  12. It is true that the lede paragraph of CBS referred to the suspect by his religious identity. But there is nothing in the headline, which is the claim in the chart.
  13. About the PA shooter

  14. I imagine that 5-6 hours from now headlines will identify Bradley William Stone as a former Marine. ABC is doing that already. Zafar's chart says ABC is referring to him as a "suspect."
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