Friday in France, a terrorist beheaded a teacher in the street. The New York Times headline chose to focus on the fact that police shot him.
The victim had recently shown caricatures of Muhammad in his class on freedom of expression, causing anger within the community. Witnesses say the man who beheaded the victim, 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty, in public yelled “Allahu akbar” as he did so.
“French Police Fatally Shoot Man Who Beheaded Teacher on the Street,” is the headline that America’s esteemed “paper of record” decided to go with for its article conveying this incident .
“Much remained obscure Friday night in the absence of an official police narrative,” read the Times article. “But the underlying themes of what was known conjured up France’s recent history of terrorist attacks: an assailant carefully choosing a victim thought to symbolize an offense against Islam.”
An alternative version of the headline also angled the story around police response, but even further downplayed the incident, referring to the violent beheading as only a “fatal knife attack.”