“The Huffington Post’s Dehumanization of Capt. Taylor Force” – Film and documentation
April 17, 2016 UPDATE: One of Capt. Force’s professors has written in to correct two factual errors in this film, which were unintentional. This is our effort to set the record straight. Click here.
“And at every step along the way, we refused to fall prey to the innovator’s dilemma by constantly evolving, innovating and reinventing vital aspects of how we put together The Huffington Post while remaining true to the core values that made HuffPost HuffPost, including:
– Using storytelling to put flesh and blood on statistics, putting a human face on the numbers. […]
– Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.”
Arianna Huffington, 100 Million Thank-Yous to HuffPosters Around the World, September 6, 2014.
See many more examples of HuffPost’s publicly-stated journalistic standards and principles here.
The only way to fully grasp the depth and viciousness of HuffPost’s dehumanizing treatment of Capt. Taylor Force, his loved ones, and all the victims of the March 8, 2016 Palestinian massacre, is to gain an objective, verifiable understanding of its editorial decisions, on an hour-by-hour basis. Specifically, to see a contextual chronology of all the published materials that were available to this “nonpartisan” news site, in two key categories, during the period March 8-10, 2016 – all but one of which it chose to completely ignore:
It is only within this context that one can be prepared to consider these questions – and grasp the shocking answers:
(1) Chronology of news stories regarding the three Palestinian terror attacks on March 8
The following is but a small sampling of the news stories concerning these attacks, that were available to HuffPost starting just before 7:00am EST on March 8. All times are EST (or converted into EST, as underlined). Items without time stamps are at listed below those with time stamps.
1 killed, 10 hurt in Jaffa stabbing spree, third serious attack of day, by Adiv Sterman, Times of Israel, March 8, 2016,1:54pm (6:54am EST).
2 cops seriously hurt in East Jerusalem drive-by shooting: Palestinian gunman on a motorcycle shoots at border police on busy street, is shot dead in ensuing firefight, by Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, March 8, 2016, 5:53 pm (10:53am EST).
1 Israeli Dead, More Than 10 Wounded — Including Pregnant Woman — in 3 Terrorist Attacks at Different Locations, by Ruthie Blum, The Algemeiner (US), March 8, 2016 1:05pm EST.
Stabbing victim pulls knife out of own neck, kills terrorist, by Raoul Wootliff, Times of Israel, March 8, 2016, 7:35pm (12:35pm EST).
Israeli stabbing victim pulls knife out of his own neck to stab attacker, by Emma Henderson, The Independent (UK), March 9, 2016.
Palestinian attacks kill American tourist, wound 12 Israelis, by Ian Dietch (AP), The Daily Herald (Chicago), March 8, 2016 2:00pm EST.
(2) Chronology of news and blog articles about Taylor Force’s murder, and his personal story
All times are EST (or converted into EST, as underlined). Items without time stamps are at listed below those with time stamps.
American veteran killed as Palestinians unleash attacks in Israel, CBS/AP March 8, 2016, 1:14pm EST.
Pictured: The Afghanistan and Iraq war vet, 28, from Texas, who was stabbed to death by crazed Palestinian terrorist on a bloody rampage at a popular Israeli beach resort, by Chris Pleasance and Khaleda Rahman and Jessica Chia, Dailymail.com, March 8, 2016 (2:10pm EST). An expansive pictorial story about Taylor, his life and death. The story was updated at 6:20pm EST on March 9.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Tweet: (5:03pm EST)
Jaffa terror victim was US Army vet, Vanderbilt student, by Raoul Wootliff and Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, March 9, 2016, 12:34 am (March 8 – 5:34pm EST).
American Graduate Student Killed in Stabbing Rampage Near Tel Aviv, by Diaa Hadid, The New York Times, March 8, 2016 (time unknown). The NYT included this exclusive video of an eyewitness to Taylor’s murder, his wounds, and how she tried to help him.
Caution: Explicit scenes and narrative:
Vanderbilt MBA Killed In Israel On School Trip, by John A. Byrne, Poets and Quants, March 8, 2016.
Pictured: The Afghanistan and Iraq war vet, 28, from Texas, who was stabbed to death by crazed Palestinian terrorist on a bloody rampage at a popular Israeli beach resort, By Chris Pleasance and Khaleda Rahman and Jessica Chia, DailyMail.com, 2:10pm EST March 8, 2016 (time unknown).
PICTORIAL: Taylor Force Photos: Pictures of American Killed in Israel, by Paul Farrell, Heavy.com, Published, March 8, 2016, 7:57 pm EST.
Israel Stabbing Victim Taylor Force Was U.S. Army Vet and MBA Student, by Erik Ortiz, NBCNews.com, Mar 8 2016, 9:32 pm ET.
American dies in Israel stabbing attack, by Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY, March 9, 2016 (6:05am EST).
My friend Taylor Force is dead, by David Simpkins, The Times of Israel, March 9, 2016, 2:00pm (7:00am EST). Excerpt (also see David’s eulogy for Taylor at the March 11 service below):
He laughed and smiled a lot in the classes at West Point. He sat behind me, next to me, or across from me during our first two years at the United States’ premier institution. He was very mild-mannered, sharp, and professional. I couldn’t think of someone who was more of a model of “America’s finest” than him. He was handsome, articulate, brilliant, and just so GOOD. I can’t think of a moment where he wasn’t exuding an aura of pure positive energy. He was as honest and heartfelt as they come, but now he’s dead.
American fatally stabbed in Israel terror attack that wounds 10 others, by Oren Liebermann, Steve Almasy and Amir Tal, CNN.com, March 9, 2016, 7:02am EST.
Father opens up about U.S. vet slain in Israel stabbing, CBSNews.com (AP), March 9, 2016, 2:59 pm EST.
Vandy Grad Student Killed ‘Had it Together,’ by Cuthbert Langley, WVTF NewsChannel5, Nashville, TN, March 9, 2016, 10:20pm CST (11:20pm EST). Excerpt:
“What was taken from us last night was a guy who was doing everything right,” [close friend Barrett] Caldwell said. “He wasn’t a question mark.” Caldwell remembers the quiet, inclusive personality that drew people to the West Point graduate. “I’ve got vivid memories of sitting at a Midtown [Nashville] bar where there’s a guy in the corner who’s with no one, and Taylor walks over with a beer and hands it to him and invites him into a circle.”
Taylor Force, Army vet and West Point grad, ID’d as American killed in Palestinian stabbing attack, by Kellan Howell, The Washington Times, March 9, 2016.
Taylor Force: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know, by Paul Farrell, Heavy.com, March 9, 2016.
Army vet stabbed to death in Israel attack, ArmyTimes.com, March 9, 2016.
Taylor Force was ‘quiet leader’ with ‘tremendous sway,’ by Najahe Sherman, WKRN-TV (Nashville, TN), March 9, 2016.
American Veteran Killed as Palestinians Unleash Attacks in Israel, Fox56 Lexington, KY March 9, 2016.
Grad student stabbed, killed in Israel was a former Fort Hood soldier, Temple Daily Telegram (TX), March 9, 2016 11:16 pm CST (12:16am EST 3/10). Excerpt:
According to military records, Force was with the 1st Cavalry Division from 2010 to 2014, becoming a captain in December 2012. He deployed with the division twice: to Iraq in September 2010, and to Afghanistan in October 2012. His home of record was Lubbock. He was a field artillery officer, serving with the division’s 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.
His awards and decorations include three Army Commendation Medals.
Friends raise $30K for slain Vanderbilt student Taylor Force, by Adam Tamburin, The Tennessean, March 10, 2016 5:31pm CST (6:31pm EST).
Vanderbilt student Taylor Force ‘made people better,’ by Adam Tamburin, The Tennesean, March 9, 2016, 11:53pm CST (12:53am EST). Excerpts:
“One of our taglines is leadership without egos, and Taylor was a model for that. I and many professors thought Force was exactly the son we would like to have.”
– M. Eric Johnson, Dean, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
“It was never about him. He pulled back from that idea of being braggadocio or beating his chest. He served and loved others. That was Taylor.”
– Barrett Caldwell, one of Taylor’s closest friends
Memorial service held for American terror victim Taylor Force at Ben Gurion Airport, by Reut Rimerman, YNet.com, March 11, 2016 10:47am (3:47am EST). Excerpt:
A statement from Force’s family read: “Please pass on our profound appreciation to the people and government of Israel for being so compassionate and considerate during the worst time in our lives. Taylor was our entire world, and knowing that Israel mourns with us is comforting.”
Body of US terror victim returns home after Israel farewell service, by Times of Israel staff, March 11, 2016, 5:02pm (10:02am EST). An excerpt of the eulogy at Ben Gurion Airport given by Taylor’s West Point classmate and fellow Army officer, David Simpkins, before Taylor’s body was returned to America for burial:
I’m not half the man Taylor was. I don’t deserve to speak for him.
Taylor Force was the perfect example of a US Army officer. He was humble, optimistic, hardworking, handsome, and genuinely loved everyone regardless of race, religion, or creed. Taylor is possibly the only person I knew who had absolutely no personal enemies. I never once heard anyone say a negative thing about him. I can’t think of anyone else who accomplished such a thing: to have lived his life in such a way that he did not hurt anyone enough for them to want to curse or disrespect his name.
He was without exaggeration one of the best men America ever produced. He didn’t just stand for American values, he fought for them in both Afghanistan and Iraq. His goal was to do his share of the work to guarantee the spread of liberty and the equality of basic human rights. I don’t know a better man than Taylor Force.
Lubbock native Taylor Force remembered by loved ones as world leaders pay their respects, By Lucinda Holt, LubbockOnline.com (TX), March 14, 2016. Excerpts:
People from around the world gathered Monday afternoon in a service officiated by minister Karl Ihfe at Broadway Church of Christ to celebrate the life of [Taylor Force]… “He was the best anybody can be,” Stuart Force said of his son. […] Stuart said his son was loved by many and was patriotic, serving as a boy scout who held “duty, honor, country” to the highest. […]
Stuart Force recalled 7-year-old Taylor saying “we’re not here to judge.” A philosophy he said Taylor lived by. “He was a truly good person. He was truly a success, as in he was good at life,” Stuart said.
Consul General Eitan Levon, and Consul Daniel Agranov, both with the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, attended the service to represent the country Taylor Force was visiting.
(3) The Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas all celebrate and justify Taylor’s murder
Hamas Hails Surge of Israel Attacks That Left U.S. Tourist Dead As ‘Heroic,’ by Jack Moore, Newsweek, March 9, 2016 at 12:36pm EST.
Fatah celebrates murder of American tourist; Fatah: Murderer of American tourist is “heroic Martyr”;PA TV News: American victim is “settler,” Palestinian Media Watch, March 9, 2016.
Video: “A complex operation was carried out in Jaffa, or more precisely in the Jaffa port, by the Martyr (Shahid) – according to Hebrew sources and sources in Qalqilya – Bashar Masalha, 22… in which 12 settlers were hurt, among them an American tourist who was killed, according to the Hebrew sources.” [Official PA TV, March 8, 2016]
Hamas celebrates murder of American tourist: Hamas, together with Islamic Jihad, welcomes ‘courageous attacks’ including murder of Taylor Allen Force in Yafo; by Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, March 9, 2016, 9:02am (March 8 12:02am EST).
And the day before Taylor’s murder, a United Nations-run school in Gaza held an event in which children were taught to honor those who murder Jews:
UNRWA school holds ceremony supporting stabbing Jews, ElderofZiyon.blogspot.com, March 7, 2016 8:00am (1:00am EST).
(4) So what did HuffPost report on Taylor’s murder, and all the other Palestinian terrorist attacks on March 8?
- HuffPost ran not a single headline story about the wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks on March 8.
- The only item HuffPost ran about them was an initial Reuters wire report, the headline of which claimed a nondescript “U.S. tourist” had been killed in a “Palestinian stabbing attack,” and buried it deep on its front page, below the latest Kardashian gossip. It featured not a single picture of Taylor, and nothing about his story. This was the highest prominence that HuffPost gave Taylor’s murder, and it told nothing of him or his murder, anywhere on its front page or World page.
- Within 18 hours, HuffPost removed the story from its front page, and placed it deep down on its World page, beneath the story of an ISIS leader who might have been killed, the headline of which included this savage’s pictures and name.
HuffPost continued moving the original Reuters story down its World page, always beneath the story of the ISIS leader, until by the morning of March 11, when it removed the story altogether – yet allowed the ISIS leader story to remain.
- Even though numerous news sites and blogs had pictorials of Taylor, and his life, heroism and character, HuffPost never updated the Reuters story, nor did it publish any of these details about him. Instead, HuffPost chose to give graphic, personalized, sympathetic coverage on its front page to sad and dying animals, offended Muslims, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie, sex gossip, a dog that can ride a tractor, and a dying whale, etc.
American Tourist Killed In Palestinian Stabbing Attack In Tel Aviv, by Reuters, March 8, 2016, 1:50pm EST.
HuffPost published this story on its front page somewhere between 1:50pm and 5:15pm, as indicated in the lower-right corner of this screencap, the first time it appeared on HuffPost’s front page. Note that it was positioned below a “news” story about the latest update of Kardashian gossip, mid-way down the front page.
Upon clicking on that headline, the reader was taken to this page, which shows HuffPost published a Reuters wire service story, at 1:50pm:
The PDF of this page is located here. Also, we were unable to take a screencap of the full storypage, because HuffPost has instituted a new technical feature that makes this impossible (in addition to its recent disabling of its search engine; documented here). In summary, as one scrolls down a story page, after a certain point a header flies out with the article title. This inteferes with screencap programs. So as an alternative, we took sequential JPG screencaps of the entire page, which can be viewed here, to show what the page contained – and didn’t contain.
The Reuters version of this story:
Palestinian kills U.S. tourist in stabbing spree on Tel Aviv boardwalk, Reuters.com, March 8, 2016.
HuffPost’s own story page showed it knew that the name of this “tourist” was Captain Taylor Force:
(1) HuffPost never updated its page containing the Reuters wire story, or the headline, to include Taylor’s picture, or any of the aspects of his personal story, and it never ran another story about him on either its front page or World page.
To anyone who got their news only from HuffPost, and who didn’t bother to read the details of the story page, the only thing they would know is that a nondescript “U.S. tourist” had been killed in an isolated “Palestinian stabbing attack.”
(2) HuffPost removed this story from its front page within eighteen hours, relegating it to its World page, where it was positioned beneath the picture- and detail-rich story of an ISIS savage who may have been killed.
(3) HuffPost kept the raw Reuters story of Taylor’s murder beneath the story of the ISIS savage, and kept being demoted down the World page, until it removed the story altogether sometime before 7:30am on March 11. Yet HuffPost allowed the the plight of the ISIS savage to remain – along with a host of other picture-laden, sympathetic “news” and gossip stories on its front page – some of which it left posted for three days straight.
(5) So what stories did HuffPost decide were more worthy of appearing on its front page and World page, than Taylor’s story, from March 9-11?
Appeared on HuffPost’s front page March 8-9
Appeared on HuffPost’s front page March 9:
Appeared on HuffPost’s front page March 10:
(6) What types of original, sympathetic news stories concerning Islamist terrorism did HuffPost produce during this period?
(6.1) “How The World’s First Syrian Astronaut Became A Refugee”: HuffPost wrote this original story about a former Syrian military pilot who became its first astronaut, who is now sad that he exists as a refugee in Turkey. The picture-rich story concludes with this wish from the man, Muhammed Faris, for the future:
“My dream is to sit in my country with my garden and see children play outside without the fear of bombs.”
Curiously, HuffPost featured not a single word about how much Taylor Force’s parents and friends wish they had him back, so they can once again bask in his effervescent warmth and love.
Duration: HuffPost left this story published on its front page for three straight days, and on its World page for seven straight days, between the period March 10-16, 2016.
(6.2) “I Have Forgotten What It Means To Be Human”: HuffPost wrote this original story about a Syrian refugee in Turkey. It is notable HuffPost gave this man, Fadi Mansour, an online platform of unrivaled reach to complain about his conditions:
“I want to live; I need my freedom,” he said. “I am waiting for mercy.”
Curiously, HuffPost featured not a single word about Taylor Force’s personal story, or by his parents, to complain about why his life was stolen from him, in such a brutal, merciless fashion.
Duration: HuffPost left this story published on its World page for four straight days, from March 18-21, 2016.
(6.3) “American Says Joining ISIS Was A Bad Decision”: HuffPost wrote this original, detailed, pictorial story of an American jihadi, Mohamad Jamal Khweis, who joined ISIS, but left after one month. HuffPost used its global platform to enable Khewis to spread his sad tale:
“On the way there (to Syria), I regretted (my decision), I wanted to go back. So after things didn’t work out, I didn’t see myself living in that environment. You know, I wanted to go back to America.”
While attempting to return to the USA, he into a firefight with Kurdish forces, who then arrested him.
Curiously, HuffPost published nothing by Taylor’s grieving family or friends, about their wishes, or about the things they regretted not having said to him before he was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.
Duration: HuffPost left this story published on its front page and World page for a combined four straight days, from March 18-21, 2016.
Odds and Ends: Other examples of HuffPost’s warped editorial decisions (which support our core contentions)
SaveTheWest’s debut documentary exposed the fact that HuffPost apparently has an unspoken yet rigidly-enforced policy of giving top, sympathetic coverage to Palestinians’ and Islamist terrorists’ grief and grievances, especially of funerals – while ignoring or whitewashing what their victims and survivors endure. As that documentary, and our new one, about Capt. Taylor Force expose, to add insult to injury, in the days after Palestinians and Islamists wreak new carnage, then celebrate these attacks, HuffPost posts sad stories on its front page about animals who meet misfortune, and sad/angry celebrities, etc.
Continuing this theme, in the weeks after Capt. Force’s funeral (which HuffPost also ignored), it effectively twisted the knife it plunged into his back, by putting the following “news” stories on its front page -sometimes for two or more days in a row:
HuffPost assigned one of its “senior writers,” Dominique Mosbergen, to write this “news” story – which appeared on its front page on April 8. And the story page to which it linked is filled with pictures and details about Tom the fish, including how much he liked women – so they made a tiny boat for him, entitled the “SS Boobies” (below). HuffPost assigned no writers (senior or otherwise) to write one word about Capt. Taylor Force, or any of the other victims of the Palestinian terrorist rampage.
As part of its near-daily, slavish publication of everything that occurs within or is rumored about the Kardashian freak show, HuffPost had one of its “journalists” write this original “news” story, which it ran on its front page on April 9-10:
HuffPost was able to find this story from Thailand, and decided to give it graphic, front-page treatment on April 11. Yet it completely ignored the tears of Taylor Force’s parents, sister and loved ones, which was presented on CBS.com.
April 17, 2016 UPDATE:
Professor Mark A. Cohen (bio) was one of Capt. Force’s professors at the Owen Graduate School of Management, at Vanderbilt University. Prof. Cohen wrote to Jon Sutz, the writer-designer-producer of this film, to alert him of two factual errors that it contained. The following is a consolidated version of Prof. Cohen’s verbatim comments, submitted via email:
I was the professor who took the students on this trip. It is part of a course that I teach where students work for Israeli companies. The Spring Break trip is part of the course; thus it was not just a traditional tour.
Anyway, I wanted to clear up two factual errors in your story. First, there were no other students injured with Taylor. You indicated that someone with him was critically wounded. That is simply not correct. None of the students with him were injured. Second, your show a video of a women who attended to a victim. However, she did not attend to Taylor. She described a situation and injuries that were for someone else – not at all Taylor. I realize these facts are unimportant to your story – but I did want to clear these issues up. Other press reports indicated that he was married – and he was not.[…]
You didn’t miss anything in your research, it was simply misreported. The incident taught me a lot about the media – including not to necessarily believe what is being reported! It is hard to verify all of these facts, I understand, but it is also very easy to simply assume that what you read is correct and repeat it!!!
As for the video – there is no way that would have known that she was referring to another victim. I can tell you, however, that she was not talking about Taylor. As you probably know, the terrorist hit about 10 people as he ran along the beach with a knife. There were injured people over a long path – probably 300-500 meters or so – but I’m not entirely sure how long. I do know for certain that she was not attending to Taylor.
Feel free to post my comments and use my name if you would like. Let me know if you have any other questions.
I sincerely regret these errors. They were unintentional, and as Prof. Cohen said, I would have had no way to know that they were incorrect. This is my and SaveTheWest’s effort to set the record straight.
I came to believe that the woman attended to Capt. Force because the scene where she was filmed was labeled as such, in the Heavy.com pictorial, and matched the scene that was portrayed as the site of his murder in other news media as well.
Regarding the part of the video where it describes a companion of Taylor’s being seriously wounded and left in the ICU, that came from multiple news sources as well, originally as his wife. But I was able to interview Lt. David Simpkins, a West Point classmate of Capt. Force’s and fellow officer, who alerted me that he was, in fact, no married, despite the news reports that he was. See the eulogy that Lt. Simpkins wrote about his friend here and here.
Again, I regret these errors.