The New York Times continues its cowardly tradition of refusing to accurately label incidents of Islamic terrorism. The lead International section story on Saturday focused on an Islamic terrorist decapitating a school teacher for showing an image of the Prophet Muhammad to his class, featured this anodyne headline: “Man Kills Teacher In Paris Suburb, Decapitating Him.”
The subhead was no more informative: “Police Officers Kill Knife-Wielding Suspect.” The killer was an 18-year-old Muslim radical from Chechnya.
The story by Paris bureau chief Adam Nossiter begin by evading the obvious, before lurching into offensive word choice that bordered on victim blaming.
A knife-wielding man decapitated a teacher near a school in a suburb north of Paris on Friday afternoon and was later shot dead by the police, officials said, abruptly hitting France with a national trauma that revived memories of recent terrorist attacks.
A police officer and parents with knowledge of the attack confirmed French media reports that the victim was a history teacher at the school who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression, which had incited anger among some Muslim families.
Notice how cynical and unsympathetic Nossiter is toward the dead teacher.
The teacher, still unidentified by Friday evening, was immediately depicted as a martyr to freedom of expression across the political spectrum. Representatives in France’s Parliament rose to their feet to “honor the victim’s memory,” as the president of the session, parliamentary deputy Hugues Renson, declared. And President Emmanuel Macron hurried to the scene of the attack Friday night.
And “seizing” isn’t just for the American Republican Party anymore. Meanwhile, factual descriptions are “anti-Islamist themes” at the New York Times.
Seizing on the symbolic nature of an attack against a high school teacher, and reprising anti-Islamist themes he has lately emphasized, Mr. Macron said the teacher had been “the victim of a terrorist, Islamist attack.”
Turmoil at the school over the teacher’s method of instruction -- Mr. Macron alluded to this in his remarks -- had evidently preceded the killing. “We have seen the principal, who in these last weeks has withstood with remarkable courage a great deal of pressure,” Mr. Macron said.
In a video that widely circulated on YouTube before the attack, a Muslim parent at the teacher’s school, College du Bois-d’Aulne, expresses anger that an unidentified teacher had asked Muslims in the class of 13-year-olds to leave because “he was going to show a photo that would shock them.”
The parent asks on the video: “Why this hatred? Why does a history teacher act like this in front of 13-year-olds?”
This damning detail was buried in paragraph 14 of the online version:
French media, quoting witnesses, said the assailant was heard to yell “Allahu akbar” at the moment of the knife attack. A photograph of a corpse lying in the middle of a leafy suburban street appeared on French television not long afterward.
The attack came three weeks after a knife-wielding assailant wounded two people in Paris near the site of the former Charlie Hebdo office -- the scene of a 2015 terrorist attack targeting the satirical newspaper for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Nossiter again suggests that cynicism, not genuine revulsion at Islamic terrorism, is behind the country’s unified response.
French officials of all political stripes rushed to denounce the teacher’s killing. The interior minister, in charge of the police, cut short an official trip to Morocco and flew home to Paris.
Nossiter was previously notorious for writing about a Congressional primary steeped in anti-Semitism while somehow avoiding mentioning that it was a Democratic Party primary.