CNN was immediately slammed when viewers noticed one small detail about the network's story about Wednesday's attack in Tel Aviv, Israel — the word "terrorists" was set off by quotation marks.
The fatal attack, carried out by two Palestinians who opened fire in a popular complex in Tel Aviv, left four Israelis dead and at least five others wounded.
The Sarona market, where the attack was carried out, is a popular open-air tourist destination with restaurants and restored shopping stores located across the street from Israel's military headquarters. Shortly after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the act as "cold-blooded murder by despicable terrorists."
But CNN initially seemed to avoid such clear language. It wasn't long before viewers started chiming in on social media, hitting the news outlet for its choice of phrasing — one Twitter user sarcastically slammed the network for its "unbiased" reporting.
@CNN The fact that "terrorists" is put in quotations is ridiculous. They are terrorists & cnn is misinforming people by using the quotations— ✿a✿ (@snugglycaI) June 8, 2016
To be fair to CNN, the guys who shot up the chocolate shop might just be "undocumented outdoorsmen," not terrorists. https://t.co/7DrflSSYer— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) June 8, 2016
Nice scarequotes, CNN. Quality journalisming right there. https://t.co/PD0sWoqDRs— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) June 8, 2016
"Journalism" https://t.co/CH2otiTBnB— elisabethlehem (@elisabethlehem) June 8, 2016
Not long after the criticism began flowing, CNN removed the quotations and published a brief statement about the ordeal, writing that a previous tweet "called into question" whether or not the attack in Tel Aviv was terrorism when "it undoubtably was."
A previous - now removed - tweet appeared to call into question the Tel Aviv attack as an act of terrorism. It undoubtedly was.— CNN (@CNN) June 9, 2016
This is not the first time CNN has been scrutinized for placing the controversial modifiers around the word "terrorists."
Earlier this year, while describing a Palestinian-lead stabbing attack in Israel in March, CNN set off the words "terrorists" with quotation marks, which — similar to Wednesday's story — were later removed.
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