Gaza Photo Controversy: Corrections and Lessons
by Tamar Sternthal
Four months after November’s Gaza-Israel fighting, the media for the second time backtracks on initial reports which had wrongly blamed Israel for the death of a Palestinian child. In the first case, major media outlets, including the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Reuters and CNN, all unequivocally blamed an Israeli air strike for the death of four-year-old Mahmoud Sadallah. Within days, all except AFP later retracted, acknowledging that Sadallah was most likely killed by an errant Palestinian rocket.
This week, 11-month-old Omar Masharawi has emerged as the second child symbol-of-war-cum symbol-of-media-manipulation. In both cases, relatives and Hamas officials blamed the deaths on an Israeli air strike, when in fact Hamas rockets were apparently the culprit. In both cases, many media outlets unquestionally accepted the Palestinian claims, reporting as fact that Israel was responsible for their deaths. In both cases, journalists did not carry out their jobs with a necessary dose of skepticism, taking into account that during the fighting, Palestinian rockets were frequently fired from densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods, and sometimes fell short. Journalists did not consider that relatives and Hamas authorities had no motive for acknowledging Hamas culpability, and yet had plenty of reason to falsely blame Israel. Photographs of both children’s corpses, along with erroneous captions, prominently featured in the international media, turning both into false icons of Israeli aggression.
My emphasis. My, my, my! Not only did the US and international MSM slander Israel by blaming Israel for Omar Masharawi’s death, but that was the second such MSM slander within days or weeks! I hadn’t heard about that first slander. And when the second slander was published/broadcast, the MSM already knew caution and skepticism to be necessary! CAMERA has, of course, many Jewish people on staff; OTOH, this article provides relevant supporting links.