Following CiF Watch post and Tweet, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade corrects Misharawi story


We recently noted that the Guardian was one the “news sites” which jumped on the media bandwagon and accused Israel of firing a missile on Nov. 14, during the Gaza war, at a house near Gaza City which killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi and his sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

As Hadar Sela of BBC Watch noted recently, the story was first reported by BBC Arabic, and disseminated throughout the media (along with the heart-breaking photo of Jihad Misharawi and his dead child) by the head of the BBC Jerusalem Bureau, Paul Danahar – and by other BCC employees.

Whilst the Guardian’s coverage of the tragic death of Omar Misharawi was relatively restrained – at least in comparison to other news outlets, and relative to their usual rush to judgement involving Israel – the paper’s media blogger Roy Greenslade published the following:

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Greenslade, citing the BBC as his source, opened with the following, unequivocally assigning blame to Israel:

The 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed yesterday during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip

However, Elder of Ziyon, BBC Watch, and Harry’s Place were among those who examined the evidence and suggested the possibility that Omar Misharawi was killed by an errant Palestinian rocket – skepticism which was confirmed when the UNHRC issued an advance version of its report on the war which included the following:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” [emphasis added]

A U.N. official confirmed to the Free Beacon that this passage in the report was indeed referring to Misharawi.

This information was first uncovered by Elder of Ziyon and has subsequently been reported by, among others, the New York Times, the Washington PostAPHuffington Post, and even by the BBC’s Jon Donnison.

On March 8, we posted on Greenslade’s error and, further, in an attempt to get his direct attention – and to circumvent the slow response time of Guardian editors who often only begrudgingly make corrections – we Tweeted him the following on March 11:

Today, March 12, Greenslade published the following:

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Greenslade’s post opens thusly:

In November last year I carried a report that the 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip. Omar Misharawi, son of the BBC Arabic service’s picture editor, Jihad, died from shrapnel wounds.

But, according to an inquiry into the conflict in Gaza by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Israeli defence forces were not responsible for the death.

A detailed report on several fatal incidents, issued on 6 March, states that the death of Omar and his aunt was more likely to have been the result of a rocket attack by Hamas.

Though we’ll never know with 100% certainty if our post and/or Tweet prompted his correction, Greenslade nevertheless deserves credit for revisiting a story he originally got wrong, and setting the record straight.

Update: the Guardian also published an AP report today also noting that the UN blamed the Palestinians for Omar Misharawi’s death.

Update 2: The Guardian Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, contacted us to explain that Greenslade did not write his new story about the death of Omar Misharawi because of our post or Tweet.

25 comments on “Following CiF Watch post and Tweet, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade corrects Misharawi story

  1. Look how long and how much effort it has taken to correct this one mistake! Think of the other mistakes that are corrected, if at all, in fine print on page 57 among the ads for support stockings. Think of the mistakes no one ever catches because evidence is lacking. I am grateful to all those who try to hold the media to account in this uphill business of insisting on fair play for Israel!

    • Completely agree, Sally, but at least Greenslade has published this. I note, however, there is no hint of an apology, either from TG, the Guardian or any of the other sources I have looked at.

      I suppose that’s just too much to ask.

  2. But wait, it’s not over yet! His death is only likely to be the resault of rocket fire by Hamas.
    But maybe, just maybe if you close your eyes long enough and pray to Ali Baba the IDF will somehow creep back into the tale and will be blamed.

    Just once Guardianistas put blame where it belongs. Once place it squarely where it lies without this wriggling around like a worm on a hook.

    • That’s an easy piece of handwringing propaganda for Beeb/Graun axis — the copy almost writes itself!

      “Whatever the truth behind this very human tragedy, we should not lose sight of the fact that Gazans still face daily humiliation at the hands of the Israeli forces who so recently rained death and destruction upon them. Until that ends and the blockade is lifted, the cycle of violence will repeat itself, and terrible accidents, such as the death of little Omar, will continue to happen”

      • “Whatever the truth behind this very human tragedy, we should not lose sight of the fact that Gazans still face daily humiliation at the hands of the Israeli forces…”

        as one can easily see in this clip of “horrors”
        (hat tip EoZ)

  3. Unlike the BBC’s Donnison, I must give Greenslade credit for gaving had the decency and ethical moral fiber to completely withdraw his earlier statement:

    “But, according to an inquiry into the conflict in Gaza by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Israeli defence forces were not responsible for the death.”

    Compare with Donnison (Couresy sister site BBC Watch:

    Donnison’s article – entitled “UN disputes Gaza strike on BBC man’s house” – opens with the same picture of Jihad Masharawi carrying his son’s body which the BBC touted so extensively at the time. This time, however, the caption is particularly loaded. [emphasis added]

    “Jehad Mashhrawi’s 11-month-old son Omar was killed in the attack on his house in Gaza”

    In other words, the BBC wants to place in readers’ minds from the very beginning the idea that there was a deliberate attack on Masharawi’s house, rather than an accident.

    Donnison begins:

    “The son of a BBC journalist and two relatives killed in last November’s war in Gaza may have been hit by a misfired Palestinian rocket, a UN agency says.

    The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said its conclusions were based on a visit to the site a month after the attack.”

  4. Update 2: The Guardian Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, contacted us to explain that Greenslade did not write his new story about the death of Omar Misharawi because of our post or Tweet.

    Yeah. He did it because of the goodness in his heart.

  5. Just how many times is CIFwatch/Jews/Israelis etc gonna have to go through the endless process of getting Al-Guardian to carry out corrections Untill the day after eternity/Al-Guardian finally goes bankrupt/or unitll Al-Guardian finally learns what journalism is about and gets its facts right As at the monment it seems to be a never ending battle with Al-Guardian

      • Call him a “bigot”, “racist”, “scumbag” and “mental midget”. C’mon, you just love to do that. Don’t be shy.

      • Where in my post did i mention “muslims” ? my post was commenting on the fact free and the inability of AL-Guardian’s journobots to get things right and which fails to do for at least two decades if not longer. And since you Mr Pretzelberg NOT me mentioned “muslims” I suggest you do a little research of SIKH/Mughal relationship and history in Mughal India it was not pretty and the last time I checked the Mughals were er “muslims” make of that what care Mr Pretzelberg cos I dont

        • Where in my post did i mention “muslims” ?
          Sorry – just an inkling I had based on your name and your posts here.

          I suggest you do a little research of SIKH/Mughal relationship … the Mughals were er “muslims” …
          As I said: just an inkling …

          • Oh Dear Mr Pretzelberg like the BBC and Al-Guardian still cant get it right can you AND i bet you still have not reseached Sikh/Mughal relationships have you???

              • Worried that it may not show muslims in the victimised spotlight that you for some reason only known to you that muslims opressed by all and sundry have to be shown in ??

  6. Your retraction is wellcome but it would be far better if yourself and BBC make damn sure that what you print is correct and not keep blaming Israel because that is what seems the antisemetics of the world want to hear. Once printed it is not easy to make things right people remember the first story.

    • This low grade fact free journalism is of course unfortunately is routine for both the BBC and Al-Guardian as is their inability to check and then correct their articles without a major heel draging on the part of both the BBC and Al-Guardian AND you dont have to be Jewish or Israeli to see the incompetence of the BBC’s or AL-Guardian’s journobots

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