After news broke yesterday about the terrible shooting in San Bernardino, Ca. the editors at the tabloid New York Post reacted in the usual way, exploiting the events in the most sensationalist way possible: the first front page featured a photo of a victim lying on the ground, with a woman kneeling next to it. The headline read: “Murder Mission.” Nothing unusual for a tabloid front page, right?
But when the two attackers (killed in a shootout with police ) were identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, and media reported that they were Muslims, the Post chose to change its headline. “Murder Mission” became “Muslim Killers” (the latter in use on the newspaper’s website).
The cover change provoked a massive reaction: Mother Jones called it an ‘awful’ decision, and Twitter users slammed the New York Post. They rightly pointed out that the newspaper never ran a headline reading “Christian Killers” when devout Christians perpetrate mass shootings and called out the hypocrisy. They also accused the headline of fueling hatred and bigotry towards Muslims.
Meanwhile, on the right, it is not this headline that causes fury. Instead, conservatives are attacking the New York Daily News for its own headline on San Bernardino. The rival of the Post had featured tweets of GOP politicians saying their thoughts and prayers were with the shooting victims under the bold title “God isn’t fixing this” in an appeal to end political inaction on gun violence. When a tabloid displays a bias against an entire faith, they are not concerned, but when another tabloid dares to call for effective action against gun violence rather than empty ‘thoughts-and-prayers’ rhetoric, they go nuts?? Wow.