The Washington Post, one of the most prestigious publications in the world, came in for a torrent of criticism Sunday after it changed the headline of the obituary of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the fugitive emir of the Islamic State. Baghdadi, the leader of the jihadist group and arguably the world's most wanted man, killed himself during a raid by US commandos on Saturday, news which was announced by US president Donald Trump on Sunday.
The original headline the newspaper gave on its website: "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 'Islamic State's 'terrorist-in-chief', dies at 48' was later changed to "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48'.
They had it right the first time.
The Washington Post changed the headline on its Al-Baghdadi obituary from “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-Chief” to “austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State.” pic.twitter.com/cs243EVz7W
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 27, 2019
The change in headline led to an outpouring of anger on social media from citizens and politicians alike with many users, including in India, tweeting similar 'obituaries' for infamous personalities both real and fictitious:
#WaPoDeathNotices Such preposterous headlines should not surprise India. Pakistani headlines eugolise dead terrorists as freedom fighters. Most hilarious is referencing it under Obituaries. Headline could simply have read - Most Wanted Terrorist Killed. pic.twitter.com/YZFXJL95Tv
— Dr. Sasmit Patra (@sasmitpatra) October 28, 2019
Hitler, champion of animal rights, father of every existing wingform, conceiver & builder of autobahns, patron of Porsche, inventor of Fanta, pioneer of exospheric rocketry, scholar of gaseous behaviour in confined spaces, expired today #WaPoDeathNotices https://t.co/aYUkLa3U0x — Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) October 28, 2019
Osama bin Laden, father of 23, killed in home invasion #WaPoDeathNotices
— Joe DeVito (@JoeDeVitoComedy) October 27, 2019
Shakaal, the original crocodile hunter, Island preservation activist, popularly known for his tastefully decorated home/office, died young.#WaPoDeathNotices pic.twitter.com/UTa5bZPBIh — Film History Pics (@FilmHistoryPic) October 28, 2019
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) October 28, 2019
Gabbar Singh, noted Marxist revolutionary, wealth redistributor, folk dance enthusiast, who disarmed the feudal Thakur lords, dies in captivity. #WaPoDeathNotices — Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) October 28, 2019
The Washington Post spokesperson later issued a clarification:
Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly. — Kristine Coratti Kelly (@kriscoratti) October 27, 2019
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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2019 16:39:01 IST