The New York Post is getting skewered for running a story with a headline that misrepresented why an Israeli man died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, the outlet posted a story with the headline: “Israeli man reportedly dies of heart attack hours after getting COVID vaccine.” If you didn’t click through and read the article, you might expect the man died from an allergic reaction or some other negative effect tied to Pfizer’s vaccine; he did not. The headline also doesn’t mention the man was 75 years old. “The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk,” according to the CDC.
The Post’s headline was clarified in the story’s opening sentence, which let readers know officials believe the heart attack “is unrelated to the shot.”
There were other health factors mentioned in the story that weren’t reflected in the headline. For example, the Post reported that “the dead man had a history of numerous pre-existing conditions, including cancer and heart problems, including earlier heart attacks.” The man also “showed no signs of adverse reaction after being vaccinated,” the Post added.
The disconnect between the headline and the facts of the story didn’t go unnoticed by several Twitter users. “If the heart attack is unrelated to the shot, why the story?” one user asked while re-tweeting the story. Another user, Jason Saltzman, founder of Alley business incubator, called the headline “totally irresponsible.”
— Renee DiResta (@noUpside) January 1, 2021
The NY Post and it headlines ? Should have read: A 75-year-old man was lucky enough to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Israel, only to die a few hours later from a heart attack that officials believe is unrelated to the shot. https://t.co/yxosKaDvk5
— AMS (@ByAnnitaMarie) December 29, 2020
Sensationalist heading to drum business damn all else!
As you read the article it turns out that there was no connection with the vaccine… https://t.co/0jXuxWtTw8
— Dan Margalit (@DanMargalit1) December 29, 2020
MAN HIT BY BUS AFTER GETTING VACCINE- MOrE tO fOLLoW https://t.co/bIVExOLJ8D
— The Secret Radiologist (@SecretRadiology) December 29, 2020
He was a 75 year old man with a history of heart problems.
"early findings suggest the vaccine was not connected to the death"
Stop publishing stories like this! https://t.co/kfL95YuxaB
— AG (@AGHamilton29) December 29, 2020
If the heart attack is unrelated to the shot, why the story? https://t.co/nTsbM8pv66
— Michael P Confield (@mpconfield) December 29, 2020
Totally irresponsible headline! This is NOT what we need right now. This is unethical.
— Jason Saltzman (@SaltzmanJason) December 29, 2020