November 30, 2017

Media Gatekeepers Keep Kate Steinle’s Name Out of Tweets, Most Headlines

A San Francisco jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarata, aka Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, aka several other undisclosed aliases, not guilty in the death of Kate Steinle on Thursday. Two leading wire services, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times kept Steinle’s name out of their tweets, and all but two kept it out of their stories’ headlines.

First, at the Associated Press’s “BREAKING” tweet, we encountered the first sighting of the “Mexican man”:

SteinleDeathTweet1fromAP113017.jpg

It’s as if Mr. Garcia Zarata, aka Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, aka several other undisclosed aliases, was a visiting tourist at the time the gun he had killed Ms. Steinle and not a five times-deported illegal immigrant who had no business being in the U.S., which is what he really is.

The AP’s story headline (headlines at all outlets cited were present at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday and subject to revision) was “Jury: Mexican man not guilty in San Francisco pier killing.” The wire service didn’t tell readers anything whatsoever about the murder victim in its tweet or its story headline.

At Reuters, the breaking tweet was also vague and deceptive:

SteinleDeathTweet2fromReuters113017

The international wire service’s story headline at least recognized that Garcia Zarata, aka Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, aka several other undisclosed aliases is not in this country legally: “Illegal immigrant acquitted of murder in politically charged San Francisco trial.” How “illegal immigrant” got past Reuters’ Stylebook police is a mystery.

CNN’s breaking tweet gave us the first appearance of “a San Francisco woman,” mentioned “the sanctuary city debate,” and seemed to imply that the verdict would somehow help those who are okay with that lawless posture:

SteinleDeathTweet3fromCNN113017

The story headline was one of two found which mentioned the victim’s name: “Undocumented immigrant acquitted in Kate Steinle death.”

The Washington Post’s tweet had the second instance of the “Mexican man,” and a de facto “San Francisco woman” mention:

SteinleDeathTweet4fromWaPo113017

The related Post story’s headline matched the one indicated in the bottom section of the tweet: “Jury: Mexican man not guilty in San Francisco pier killing.” Again, Garcia Zarata, aka Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, aka several other undisclosed aliases, could just as well have been a tourist.

Finally, in the tweet at the New York Times, Ms. Steinle also became a “San Francisco woman”:

SteinleDeathTweet4fromWaPo113017

The story at the Times had the same headline seen at the bottom of the tweet: “Undocumented Immigrant Acquitted in Killing of Kate Steinle.”

Mr. Garcia Zarata was found guilty of felony possession of a firearm, which could carry a three-year sentence. He was suposedly a “hapless” man who just happened to shoot a gun he came across, yet he was sophisticated enough to manage his daily life under multiple aliases.

Since just about anyone following national news for the past two years knows who Kate Steinle was, it’s reasonable to conclude that the omissions of her attention-getting name from all five tweets and three of the five story headlines was deliberate.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

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