Politics

AP Blames U.S. For Iran Shooting Down Commercial Jet

An engine lies on the ground after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020
An engine lies on the ground after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020 / Getty Images

The headline of an Associated Press article blamed the United States for the crash of a civilian airplane Iran shot down.

"An Iranian general dies in U.S. attack, and innocents suffer," read the original headline of the Associated Press story published on Thursday. The innocents in question were passengers of a Ukrainian International Airlines jet shot down by what Western leaders say was an Iranian missile.

The piece reported that the recent U.S.-Iran conflict "had begun with a drone attack on Gen. Qassem Soleimani's motorcade" and "rippled outward until dozens of Iranian-Canadians … were dead." The story failed to mention any escalation from the Iranian regime that led to the drone attack, including one attack on America's embassy in Iraq and another that led to the death of a U.S. contractor.

The piece quotes Canadian civilians who fault Trump for the Iranian missile strike. "This is insane. Sickening. Imagine having a family member on that plane," one Torontonian told the AP. "One man, and only one, is responsible for those deaths. And he will never face consequences for them."

After publication, the headline was changed Friday to "As Iran and U.S. take step back from the brink, Canada grieves." The wire service did not attach a correction to the change. Even after amending the headline, the article still says "the killing of an Iranian general last week in a U.S. drone stroke may have led to the deaths of dozens of their citizens in a plane crash."

The Associated Press is not alone in blaming Trump for Iran's missile strike. Several Democrats have also blamed Trump for the deadly attack. "If what is being projected is true, this is yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States," Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) said on CNN Thursday.

"Innocent civilians are now dead because they were caught in the middle of an unnecessary and unwanted military tit for tat," tweeted Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.