Media

WaPo Obituary Reframes Killed ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi As ‘Austere Religious Scholar’

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

A Washington Post obituary Sunday reframed the late leader of the ISIS terror group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as an “austere religious scholar.”

“Austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State dies at 48,” the full headline read. (RELATED: ‘Whimpering And Screaming’: Trump Details Baghdadi’s Last Moments)

Screen Shot/The Washington Post

Screen Shot/The Washington Post

The opening paragraphs of the obituary went on to list al-Baghdadi’s “achievements” in bringing a brutal terror organization onto the global stage:

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins of the Islamic State of Iraq in 2010, few had heard of the organization or its new leader, an austere religious scholar with wire-frame glasses and no known aptitude for fighting and killing.

But just four years later, Mr. Baghdadi had helped transform his failing movement into one of the most notorious and successful terrorist groups of modern times. Under his guidance it would burst into the public consciousness as the Islamic State, an organization that would seize control of entire cities in Iraq and Syria and become a byword for shocking brutality.

Journalist Yashar Ali pointed out that there was an earlier headline on that obituary, and argued that The Washington Post “had it right the first time.”

Amid criticism, the outlet changed the headline again to read, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

Reports had begun circulating late Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces raid in northern Syria had resulted in the death of the terrorist leader, and President Donald Trump confirmed those reports in a Sunday morning announcement from the White House.

The Washington Post’s Kristine Coratti Kelly gave a statement regarding the change.