Washington Post in its obituary to ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself after he detonated his suicide vest during a raid by US forces, tried to glorify the dreaded terrorist. The headline of the Washington Post obituary referred to Baghdadi as an ‘austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State’ as if Baghdadi being an ‘austere religious scholar’ was his primary identity.
Amusingly, their original headline appeared to describe al-Baghdadi as ‘terrorist-in-chief’.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic State’s ‘terrorist-in-chief,’ dies at 48 https://t.co/mfABUfen0i
— Post Obituaries (@postobits) October 27, 2019
For some reason, Washington Post then decided to whitewash al-Baghdadi and refer to him as ‘austere religious scholar’.
However, following public backlash, Washington Post changed its headline.
Washington Post went from describing ISIS chief as ‘austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State’ to ‘extremist leader of Islamic State’. Washington Post’s VP Communications, Kristine Coratti Kelly, took to Twitter to explain that the Washington Post headline for al-Baghdadi obituary ‘should have never read that way’.
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
She said that the headline was changed ‘quickly’. However, netizens were quick to point out how Washington Post would have otherwise whitewashed other criminals who are responsible for the death of thousands, if not millions.
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) October 28, 2019
However, the obituary itself is a little problematic as it normalises and humanises the the dreaded terrorist by describing him as a shy young boy who liked soccer.
Soon, twitterati started using the hashtag #WaPoDeathNotices to mock Washington Post for glorifying ISIS chief.
Voldemort, austere wizard who overcame a severe facial deformity to achieve dark lordship, dead at 71 #WaPoDeathNotices
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 27, 2019
Voldemort was the main antagonist in the popular book and movie series Harry Potter written by JK Rowling.
Saddam Hussein, successful politician, oil baron and noted tough boss, dead at 69. #WaPoDeathNotices
— Sen. Denise Batters (@denisebatters) October 27, 2019
Saddam Hussein was the Iraqi dictator who carried out severe atrocities. Speaking of atrocities, how can Adolf Hitler, the German dictator responsible for the Holocaust, be left behind?
Adolf Hitler, dedicated art enthusiast, animal rights activist, and talented orator, dies at 56.#WaPoDeathNotices
— Lauren Chen (@TheLaurenChen) October 28, 2019
Meanwhile, Washington Post is not the only publication that has emerged as one of the biggest ISIS sympathisers. Bloomberg, too, glorified al-Baghdadi by describing him as he was someone who came from a small village and then achieved great success against all odds.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi transformed himself from a little-known teacher of Koranic recitation into the self-proclaimed ruler of an entity that covered swaths of Syria and Iraq https://t.co/CNI5XBsoai
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) October 27, 2019
On Sunday, 27th October, US President Donald Trump tweeted that ‘something very big has just happened’. The speculations were put to rest when later reports emerged that ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had killed himself by detonating a suicide vest during a raid by the US.