‘Angelic’ terrorist? Tabloid treatment of Christchurch shooter slammed on social media
A number of tabloid newspapers have been criticized for their coverage of Christchurch attacker Brenton Tarrant, which has been described as sympathetic and hypocritical. The outlets have been called out for fueling Islamophobia.
The UK Daily Mirror was slammed over its front page, which featured a photo of white supremacist Brenton Tarrant as a child and described him as an “angelic boy who grew into an evil far-right mass killer,” sparking a deluge of anger across social media.
What a perverse angle to take on such a barbaric act of terrorism. None of the victims are humanised or mourned. Instead the terrorist was an 'angelic boy' and the first paragraph describes him as 'hard-working'. Scumbags pic.twitter.com/A9x8mPd210— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) March 15, 2019
Days like this I’m ashamed to be associated with the British Media. In the past, terror attack coverage has focussed on the terror, the victims, the childrenThis morning the focus is on an angelic blonde blue eyed young boy.When have we ever called a terrorist angelic? Shameful.— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) March 16, 2019
Very wrong @DailyMirror front page picture of the #Australian terrorist & mass murderer from #Brisbane as an 'angelic' boy. Why no image of father who threw himself over his sons to protect them? ISIS terrorists are heartless psychopaths, never angels' gone wrong. #DoubleStandardpic.twitter.com/uu28w7yQs1— Richard Woolley (@beingrichard) March 16, 2019
The Mirror has treated other terrorists in quite the opposite manner, referring to them as “maniacs” and “monsters.” In the aftermath of other terrorist attacks, the newspaper usually leads with the number killed, details about the victims or a negative portrayal of the terrorists.
49 people are dead, it must be a bit fucking galling for their families to see newspapers lead with how angelic the victims’ murderer was as a child pic.twitter.com/K9DGwvQ3VO— James Felton (@JimMFelton) March 15, 2019
Tarrant carried out a terrorist attack in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 and seriously wounding 20 others.
The Daily Mail’s print front page led with “Massacre shame of Facebook,” detailing criticism the social media giant received for allowing Tarrant to live-stream the shooting. Its website’s front page was dominated by the same image of Tarrant as a boy, with the words, “How a blonde little boy turned into a far-right mass killer,” while its social media said Tarrant “looks like an innocent Australian child,” and shared an article about his granny saying he was a “good boy.”
@DailyMirror@MailOnline to refer to your headlines as grotesque would be an understatement.Your hypocrisy , underlying racism and the not very subtle headlines are what will ultimately provoke lunatics to commit even greater acts of evilYou are disgusting and shameless https://t.co/cwrdrItAKd— Seevali Abeysekera (@charlesabey) March 16, 2019
Christchurch terrorist's grandmother says he was a 'good boy' https://t.co/LuO6DyFUaF— Daily Mail Australia (@DailyMailAU) March 16, 2019
Would never condone using a phone whilst driving, but to suggest it's only foreigners is just so horribly wrong. pic.twitter.com/HS5VoWyIvJ— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 1, 2016
Media outlets were also called out for the way they have demonized Muslims and immigrants over the years, with some accusing them of being complicit in shaping the views of white supremacists.
The Daily Mail has been accused of fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment and Islamophobia.
The Daily Express’ front page led with a quote from Home Secretary Sajid Javid describing the attack as a “hate-fuelled attack on values that unites us all.” The paper has published many articles about values being under threat from Muslims, with past front page headlines including, “Now Muslims demand: Give us full Sharia law” and “Muslim schools ban our culture.”
Tomorrow's @Daily_Express front page:- #NewZealandMosqueShootings: A fuelled attack on values that unite us all- Love that keeps Theresa May rock steady- Unseen photos of the Royal Family at play#tomorrowspapertodaypic.twitter.com/ORjyVef7JB— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) March 15, 2019
That’s without a shred of irony isn’t it? pic.twitter.com/L8dQpFjMEB— Jason Clark (@DCAJason) March 15, 2019
The Daily Express front page today is possibly the most insidious, shameless and hypocritical piece of evil I've ever seen on a British paper. They know they're complicit. They know they're implicated. To try and claim kinship with the victims is truly abhorrent.— Owen Radford-Lloyd (@tfdefence) March 16, 2019
After the Manchester terrorist attack in 2017, the Express led with the following: “Evil beyond belief. How could a jihadi barbarian murder our beautiful and innocent children?”
The Sun, a newspaper with a controversial reputation, described the killer as a “maniac” and a “racist” on its front page.
The Sun had a front page: "1 in 5 Brit Muslims' sympathy for jihadis". They were ordered to admit British Muslims story was 'significantly misleading' /2 pic.twitter.com/1Ry0EM7pIn— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) January 12, 2019
After the Manchester attack, the Sun’s front page featured a photo of one of the child victims and the killer, described as being “pure evil” and led with details of “vile suicide bombers’ secret jihadi training.” It referred to Barcelona terrorists as “bastards.”
Tomorrow's front page: Suicide bomber was trained in terror by IS warlords pic.twitter.com/mMzK0wxgQO— The Sun (@TheSun) May 23, 2017
Despite its inoffensive cover, the Sun was among those called out for spending years reporting on Muslims and immigrants as a threat.
Should 'newspapers' like the @MailOnline, Sun and @Daily_Express face criticism for encouraging #Islamophobia and race hatred?Should the @conservatives feel ashamed for failing to address #racism within their party? @SophyRidgeSky@firstname.lastname@example.org/hgNF8fwdeR— STEVE MOSS Ⓥ (@mr_stephen_moss) March 16, 2019
More desperate barrel scraping from a newspaper that has been spewing out Islamophobia for years.— EightWordPoems (@EightWordPoet) March 15, 2019
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