AP and BBC Fail to Report Munich Killer's Full Name

July 24th, 2016 10:41 PM

In Munich on Friday, 18 year-old Ali David Sonboly gunned down nine people, seven of them teenagers, and injured 35, before killing himself. Though there appears to be no direct connection to nationalist or Islamic groups, witnesses said he screamed "I'm German" and "Allah Akbar" during his killing spree.

The previous paragraph tells readers far more about the massacre than certain news outlets have been willing to report. Two egregious such examples include the Associated Press, which, over 48 hours later, won't even reveal the killer's first or last name, and the BBC, which, until called out by critics, originally scrubbed his first name.

The AP's Sunday evening report on the killer by reporters George Jahn and David Rising is especially outrageous because Ali David Sonboly's name has already been reported by more media outlets worldwide than anyone could hope to count (bolds are mine throughout this post):


The teenager behind the deadly shooting rampage in Munich was a withdrawn loner obsessed with playing "killer" video games in his bedroom, a victim of bullying who suffered from panic attacks set off by contacts with other people, investigators said Sunday, adding that he had planned the attack for a year.

Law enforcement officials piecing together a portrait of the 18-year-old shooter said he was seeing a doctor up to last month for treatment of depression and psychiatric problems that began in 2015 with inpatient hospital care followed by outpatient visits.

They said medication for his problems had been found his room. But toxicological and autopsy results were still not available, so it's not yet clear whether he was taking the medicine when he went on his shooting rampage Friday, killing nine people and leaving dozens wounded.

The 18-year-old German-Iranian, identified only as David S. due to Germany privacy laws, had earlier been described by investigators as being bullied by schoolmates at least once four years ago and being fascinated by previous mass shootings. But none of those killed were known to him, investigators said.

What possible journalistic defense can there be for failing to tell U.S. and other worldwide readers Ali David Sonboly's name when it has been known since the overnight hours Eastern Time Friday? Why is the AP alone or virtually alone in giving "German privacy laws" presumptive worldwide respect? Sonboly's name could not be found in searches done at the AP's main national site or at the wire service's "Big Story" site.

Meanwhile, the BBC, after revealing the killer's full name initially, got uptight about his first name, as Breitbart News reported Saturday:

Most sources at this point suggest that Ali David Sonboly – the Munich attacker who targeted children and killed nine yesterday – is not connected to radical Islam, but the BBC has gone to extraordinary lengths to try to keep any reference to his heritage out of its coverage, opting to name him only as “David Sonboly”.

Other news organisations including the Wall Street Journal, Independent, Daily Mail, and Sky News named the attacker as “Ali David Sonboly” or “David Ali Sonboly”. CNN even referred to him simply as “Ali Sonboly”.

But the BBC had different ideas, opting to refer to him in their online news coverage, national and international broadcast coverage, and on social media (above) as “David Sonboly”.

At 3pm UK time on Saturday, the BBC made reference to the killer as Ali Sonboly. Within one hour however, the BBC had changed its references to the now dead culprit to “David Sonboly”.

A Sunday Breitbart post claims credit for the BBC quietly reversing course.

One other key item about the massacre which the AP is not reporting relates to Sonboly's targeting of victims.

Sonboly "is believed to have deliberately targeted young people," having "hacked into a teenage girl's Facebook account and invited her friends to join her at a McDonald's in the suburb of Moosach for free food." Four separate AP reports seen Sunday night failed to report the preponderance of young victims.

Good reporting relays facts accurately and objectively: Who, what, where, when, how and why. When alleged "journalists" refuse to report the "who" in their news stories, even when known, or fudge names to conform to political correctness, it's hard to see why anything else they try to tell us deserves presumptive trust.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.