WashPost's Al-Baghdadi headline changes - iMediaEthics

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The Washington Post in 2011 (Credit: Flickr/Daniel X. O'Neil)

The Washington Post upset many readers with its headline for a news story about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last weekend.

The headline identified al-Baghdadi, the terrorist ISIS leader, as an “austere religious scholar.”

What’s unusual is that the first headline for the article read “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic State’s ‘terrorist-in-chief,’ dies at 48.” Then it was changed to “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.” Finally it was changed to  “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

In an Oct 27 tweet, Post spokesperson Kris Coratti Kelly wrote, “Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.”


Coratti told CNN, “Post correspondents have spent years in Iraq and Syria documenting ISIS savagery, often at great personal risk. Unfortunately, a headline written in haste to portray the origins of al-Baghdadi and ISIS didn’t communicate that brutality. The headline was promptly changed.”

iMediaEthics has written to the Washington Post for more details.

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WashPost’s Al-Baghdadi headline changes

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