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'Little Doubt Trump Will Profit': The World's Media React to the Orlando Massacre

In the immediate wake of the worst mass shooting in US history, some major newspapers highlighted the Republican candidate's reaction.
Police officers guard the entrance of the Orlando Health Center, where some of the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub were taken. Photo by Cristobal Herrera/EPA

The Sunday morning massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando is the main story for most of the world's major news sites, with a few exceptions. The sheer magnitude of the carnage, with at least 50 dead, is reflected in many of the headlines, which talk about "the worst mass shooting in US history."

The face of the shooter, 29-year-old US citizen Omar Mateen, is splashed on many homepages. The shooter's ethnic origin — he was the son of Afghan parents — and Muslim religion, as well as the possibility that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group before or during the massacre, have caused speculation among international media that the shooting would provoke a strong backlash against Muslims in the United States.


And while most major newspapers around the world are focusing their headlines on what we know at this time, some are already looking forward to the next day, and wondering whether this might benefit the man who has been the face of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim reaction in America — giving Donald Trump a bigger chance to win the presidential election in November.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee's extreme positions on international affairs and on immigration and Islam have captured the attention of the world's media for months now. But in the wake of the Orlando mass killing, the question is emerging with renewed urgency: Will fear of radical Islam propel to the White House a man who wants to upend a lot of the international order as we've known it since 1945?

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the voice of the moderate establishment in Germany, expresses that concern right on its homepage. The main headline simply says "In the heart of liberal America," an allusion to the fact that the massacre happened in a gay club in the middle of a major city — not in the conservative US heartland where, according to the stereotypical image popular on the continent, mass shootings tend to happen. The summary states that "There is little doubt that Donald Trump will benefit from this."

Donald Trump appears prominently in Italy's Corriere della Sera, another major newspaper with a moderate point of view, which quotes a tweet from the Republican candidate advocating "toughness with Islam."


"The killer said on the phone he was an ISIS faithful," says the Milan-based paper, adding that "his father says he hated homosexuals." A link in the headline leads to coverage of "US massacres," as European newspapers often do after a mass shooting in the US, frequently also publishing editorials wondering at the frequency and severity of this sort of attack there.

Madrid-based El País, one of the most authoritative voices in the Spanish-speaking world, simply focuses on "The biggest mass killing in the US since 9/11," but also links on the homepage to coverage of "The latest massacres in the United States."

"Religion has nothing to do with it," El País quoted the suspect's father as saying., one of the most popular news sites in Russian, notes that the suspect was "a US citizen of Afghan origin," under a headline that says "Slaughterhouse in Orlando."

Latin American news sites also featured the news prominently. An example among many is Mexico's Excelsior, which notes that "authorities are investigating the case as terrorism."

On the other hand, the story did not appear on the homepages of some of the biggest newspapers in Asia. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, the largest-circulation newspaper in the world, had Orlando at the top of its website with a photo linking to the story — but the English-language edition of the country's number two paper, Asahi Shimbun, did not feature it at all as of 2pm ET on Sunday.

In the Arab world, the Arabic-language edition of al Ahram, the state-owned paper considered the official voice in Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, did not have the story on the homepage. Ahram Online, the English-language version, did.