#WaPoDeathNotices Skewers al-Baghdadi 'Austere Religious Scholar' Obituary Headline

Even the Mossad Twitter parody account got in on the joke

A screenshot from an ISIS propaganda video allegedly shows ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, speaking at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq.
AFP

The Washington Post is being roasted online for its apparent headline change on the online obituary for Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was killed in a U.S. raid over the weekend. 

The paper’s headline originally read, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic State’s 'terrorist-in-chief,' dies at 48" but was later changed to "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48." 

Twitter began to parody the headline under the hashtag #WaPoDeathNotices, with political commentators joining in with social media satirists to post humours obituaries for famous figures. 

Popular conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote, “Voldemort, austere wizard who overcame a severe facial deformity to achieve dark lordship, dead at 71,” while another Twitter user joked, “Darth Vader, disabled single father of two, passes away.”

Donald Trump Jr. joked, “Jeffrey Dahmer, connoisseur of exotic and locally sourced meats, dies at 34” while the Mossad parody account wrote, “Psychologist and Wine Connoisseur Hannibal Lecter Dies After Lengthy Battle With Flesh Eating Disorder.” Josh Jordan added, "Thanos, a passionate advocate of population controls to save Earth, dies at over 1,000 years."

A spokesperson for the Washington Post, Kristine Coratti Kelly, later tweeted "Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly." 

Coratti added in a statement to CNN that "Post correspondents have spent years in Iraq and Syria documenting ISIS savagery, often at great personal risk. Unfortunately, a headline written in haste to portray the origins of al-Baghdadi and ISIS didn't communicate that brutality. The headline was promptly changed."