Washington Post headline on al-Baghdadi’s death a global sensation

by WorldTribune Staff, October 28, 2019

The Washington Post made worldwide news and was lampooned at home for an online obituary which framed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization, as an “austere religious scholar.”

Reports had begun circulating late Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces raid in northern Syria had resulted in the death of al-Baghdadi. President Donald Trump confirmed those reports in a Sunday morning announcement from the White House.

After critics slammed the Post, with Fox News’s Brit Hume tweeting that the Jeff Bezos-owned media outlet “has become unembarrass-able”, the headline was changed to read, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48”.

The opening paragraphs of the obituary listed al-Baghdadi’s “achievements”.

“When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010, few had heard of the organization or its new leader, an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing.

But just four years later, Mr. Baghdadi had helped transform his failing movement into one of the most notorious and successful terrorist groups of modern times. Under his guidance it would burst into the public consciousness as the Islamic State, an organization that would seize control of entire cities in Iraq and Syria and become a byword for shocking brutality.”

Elizabeth Harrington, national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, tweeted: “WaPo’s actual obit for a terrorist monster: “austere religious scholar w/ wire-frame glasses” “Mr. Baghdadi maintained a canny pragmatism” “Acquaintances would remember him as a shy, nearsighted youth who liked soccer but preferred to spend his free time at the local mosque.”

A spokesperson for the Post said: “Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.”

But the widespread mocking had already begun as Twitter users took aim with their own obit submissions for the Post:

“Osama bin Laden, father of 23, killed in home invasion”

“Adolf Hitler, local painter, found dead”

“Adolf Hitler, dedicated art enthusiast, animal rights activist, and talented orator, dies at 56”

“Mao Zedong, who saved 20-45 million of his own people from having to suffer through the struggle of existence, dies at 82”

“Genghis Khan, noted traveler, dies at 64”

“Jeffrey Dahmer, LGBT activist-pioneer, unconventional romantic, and avant-garde gastronomist passed away at age 34 surrounded by his caretakers”

“Ted Bundy, meticulous researcher, charismatic figure, and Polaroid enthusiast, dead at 42”

“Jim Jones, preacher, community leader and population control enthusiast who dabbled in adventurous cocktails dies at 47”

“Emperor Palpatine, austere holder of emergency powers and advocate for democracy, died after a fall.”

And:

“Wicked Witch of the West, devoted sister, broom enthusiast, died suddenly from oversaturation, age unknown”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise tweeted: “Every day The Washington Post uses harsher words against @realDonaldTrump than they do in writing about one of the world’s most evil terrorists. Yet we’re supposed to take them at face value. Let that sink in.”

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway simply tweeted: “No excuse.”


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