NPR Deletes Tweet Calling Assassinated Prime Minister ‘A Divisive Arch-Conservative’

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Publicly funded NPR deleted a tweet Friday morning calling former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a “divisive arch-conservative” after Abe was assassinated.

The original tweet read as follows, according to a screenshot from Kimberly Ross.

“Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a divisive arch-conservative and one of his nation’s most powerful and influential figures, has died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan, hospital officials said.”

NPR later issued a separate tweet regarding Abe’s death.

“Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese prime minister and ultranationalist, was killed at a campaign rally on Friday. Police tackled and arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of an attack that shocked many in Japan.”

NPR was criticized for issuing the original tweet.

“NPR referring to Japan’s most popular PM, who won his elections by large margins, as ‘divisive’ indicates the inability of media outlets to genuinely report any longer,” associate director at the Center for the Middle East & International Law Erielle Davidson tweeted.

Communications professional Natalie Johnson shared two separate screenshots showing NPR’s tweet on Abe’s death versus how they referred to the death of Fidel Castro.

“One of the most prominent international figures in the last half of the 20th century, Castro inspired both passionate love and hate. Many who later lost faith in him can remember how they once admired the man who needed just a dozen men to launch the Cuban Revolution,” NPR wrote after Castro’s death in November 2016.

Former New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind criticized NPR’s follow up tweet as “pathetic reporting.”

Abe was fatally shot Friday during a campaign speech for a Japanese Liberal Democratic Party candidate in the city of Nara. Shinzo, 67, went into cardiopulmonary arrest and died from excessive bleeding. Abe suffered two gunshot wounds. (RELATED: The Washington Post Deletes Tweet Falsely Claiming George Floyd Was Shot)

Authorities arrested a person of interest for the killing, and the gun that the shooter allegedly used was seized by authorities.

Shinzo was the longest serving prime minister, holding office between 2006-2007 and then again from 2012 to 2020. He resigned after undergoing treatment for ulcerative colitis.