Guardian duped by fake NBC Tweet claiming white phosphorous attack

A few hours ago, we noticed this update on the Guardian Live Blog on the Gaza War, edited by Matthew Weaver.

(Note the last sentence at the bottom of this snapshot of the update, which we marked with a red arrow)

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Here’s the tweet they likely removed:

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Here’s the Twitter account they evidently believed was the real NBC account:

twitterYou of course don’t have to be a whiz at social media to realize that a real NBC News Twitter account would have more than 79 followers and 25 Tweets!

On the Indy’s hypocrisy over that Bill Maher Tweet

The Independent recently covered the evidently serious controversy surrounding the following Tweet by comedian Bill Maher.

The Indy, in an article published today (July 18th), had a clear critical editorial stance towards the Tweet: 

Bill Mayer has sparked a bitter backlash online for appearing to condone Israeli aggression in Gaza and domestic violence in one, foul Twitter swoop.

“You can only hold her wrists for so long before you have to slap her,” he wrote.

The caustic American comedian, who is himself of Jewish heritage, compared Palestinian Sunni Islamic organisation Hamas to a “crazy woman trying to kill you”.

His controversial “joke” comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the IDF had launched a directive for “ground action” against Gaza.

Palestinian health officials say that 233 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air and naval strikes during 10 days of conflict. Meanwhile, one Israeli civilian has been killed by fire from Gaza.

His comments were heavily criticised, not just for appearing to suggest a pro-Israel stance, but also for appearing to be insensitive to victims of domestic violence:

Note that readers are informed that Maher is Jewish, despite the fact that he’s only half-Jewish, and is a well-known agnostic and fierce critic of religion – a gratuitous reference which may be inconsistent with the section of the Editor Code which warns against providing details of an individual’s religion unless relevant to the story.

However, for some reason, editors at the Indy covered the story of a British comedian named Alexis Sayle – who gave an interview where he likened Israel to a child rapist and a psychopath – in a context which appeared to at least legitimize his comparison:

First, here’s the video: 

 

The July 15th Indy story begins:

Comedian and pro-Palestinian activist Alexei Sayle has fiercely condemned Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip, by comparing the nation’s behaviour to that of prolific sex offender Jimmy Savile.

His comments were released after Israel resumed airstrikes in the Gaza Strip – killing one Palestinian civilian – after Hamas rejected a ceasefire plan and continued rocket attacks. 166 people in Gaza have died in the week-long offensive, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

“Israel is the Jimmy Saville of nation states,” Sayle said on Tuesday during an interview with advocacy group Caabu.

“It clearly doesn’t care about damaging the lives of children,” he added, referring to the late entertainer.

Sayle also described Israel as a “teenager that’s never been given any boundaries.”

“[Israel] is endlessly indulged by its doting parents, the West, and has become a psychopath as a result.

“It thinks that everybody else is in the wrong and it is in the right,” he said.

Note that while Maher’s Tweet was criticized for “taking a pro-Israel stance” (and offending women, which, by itself, is a reasonable conclusion), there’s not a word in the Sayle story suggesting that his comparison between Israel and a child molester just may be a bit offensive, either to Israelis or victims of child abuse. 

Of course, the big difference between Maher and Sayle is that the former was taking aim at an Islamist group which openly incites its followers to kill Jews, while Sayle was going after the state being targeted by these antisemitic extremists. 

The moral confusion amongst segments of the British Left is at times astounding. 

Read Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle:

On Monday night, Israel formally accepted the Egyptian proposed ceasefire calling for an end to “all hostilities” between Hamas and Israel from the following morning.

Though the IDF halted its military operations, Hamas rejected calls to stop attacks and fired dozens of rockets at Israeli cities during the declared truce. After six hours of continued attacks, Israel announced it would resume its military operation and began attacking Hamas targets.

Despite this straightforward series of events, some media outlets found a way to obscure Hamas’s culpability, with the Guardian leading the pack. Even when the paper acknowledged that Hamas was still firing rockets, they somehow concluded that the “ceasefire was holding” and later managed to blame Israel’s eventual retaliation for causing it to collapse.

After the paper was criticised on Twitter, Guardian deputy editor Phoebe Greenwood defended the coverage, arguing in one Tweet that since Hamas never agreed to the ceasefire, their rocket attacks did not represent a violation of its terms.

Read the rest of the article here.

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent takes aim at ‘hasbara goons’

Here’s a Tweet from earlier today by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont:

Though we’re not sure what his Tweet was specifically referring to, the word ‘hasbara’ (a Hebrew word which merely means ‘explaining’) is often used by anti-Israel activists to characterize, in a pejorative manner, those who defend Israel online.

Tellingly, if you Google the term “Hasbara Goons”, the first two results show posts from the hate site, Mondoweiss.

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Interestingly, Beaumont received some flack from his swipe at pro-Israel activists, in the following replies:

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Beaumont perhaps should refer to the Guardian’s Social Media Guidelines for Journalists:

The Guardian has created a set of guidelines for staff on the use of blogging, tweeting and the use of social media in order to maintain editorial standards and help create effective communities on the web.

staff are asked to remember the former editor CP Scott’s famous dictum that “comment is free, but facts are sacred” by not blurring facts and opinions, and to exemplify the Guardian’s community standards in contributions.

The community standards, which Guardian journalists are asked to exemplify, include 10 guidelines, and summarizes their suggestions as follows:

In short:

- If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems. 
Don’t be unpleasant. Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom and humour we know you possess.
Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this an intelligent place for discussion and it will be.

In addition to being shrill and unprofessional, it seems clear that Beaumont’s Tweet was thoroughly inconsistent with his own company’s community standards. 

Graham Jones MP accuses Israel of “deliberately killing children”

Graham Jones MP, a Labor Party member who serves Haslingden & Hyndburn, Tweeted the following on July 14th.

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According to the Jewish News, Jones Tweeted the accusations during an exchange with Jewish News editor Justin Cohen.  Jones subsequently deleted the Tweet as you can see by his timeline (and per a site which keeps track of deleted Tweets by MPs) and apologized to Cohen. According to Breitbart London, additional Tweets by Jones – which he also deleted – directly accused Cohen, who is Jewish, of ‘killing children’, despite the fact that he is not Israeli.

Beyond Jones’ vicious smear of Israel, “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” (per Jones’ Tweet to the Jewish journalist) is defined as antisemitic according to the EUMC Working Definition.

h/t JudgeDan

Independent demonizes Sderot residents for cheering IDF strikes on Hamas

Sderot, dubbed the bomb shelter capital of the world, is a working-class community located 2.5 km from Gaza, and has absorbed the largest percentage of the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel since 2001.  Such ubiquitous attacks have killed 13 Sderot residents, wounded dozens and profoundly disrupted daily life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder incidences among young children of Sderot, as with depression and miscarriages among the adult population, are abnormally high.

Naturally, they are not too fond of Hamas, the movement most responsible for the terror their community has suffered, and are pleased whenever the IDF attempts to reign in their rocket launching capacity.

Yet, a surreal report by Adam Winthall at the Independent on July 13th, which focuses on fifty Sderot residents who gathered to watch the conflict unfold at a lookout point northwest of the city last week, frames their pleasure at the periodic sight of Hamas terror sites being shelled as nothing short of sadistic.

Here’s the headline:

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Withnall begins:

An image that appears to show a group of Israelis on a hilltop cheering and applauding as they watch the deadly aerial bombardment of Gaza has caused international outrage after it was shared by thousands on Twitter.

Taken by the Middle East correspondent for a Danish newspaper, the picture shows rows of people sitting on plastic chairs looking out over the Gaza Strip as rockets and explosions light up the night sky.

Allan Sørensen, who posted the image, wrote that it showed a kind of “cinema” on the hilltop outside the Israeli town of Sderot, and a caption added: “Clapping when blasts are heard.”

Sørensen’s newspaper, the Kristeligt Dagblad, reported that the gathering involved more than 50 people who had transformed the hill into something “most closely resembling the front row of a reality war theatre”.

It said that people were seen taking popcorn up onto the hill with their chairs, and that they sat cheerfully smoking hookahs.

Then the Indy shows the Tweet by the outraged Danish journalist:

Winthall then adds a few more ‘shocking details’ about the ‘cruel’ Israelis.

“We are here to see Israel destroy Hamas,” said Eli Chone, a 22-year-old American who lives in Israel.

Sørensen’s tweet was met with anger by fellow Twitter users. One user wrote: “If this is true then God help us all. What’s become of the human race?

Where to begin?!

First, it’s quite telling that the Indy reporter doesn’t even note the rockets fired on Sderot in the months and years prior to the event he describes.  Withnall completely erases this vital context from his report.

Additionally, do Winthall and the “shocked” Norwegian journalist really not know that Palestinians often celebrate the murder of Israeli civilians as the result of terror attacks?

As you no doubt recall, there were enthusiastic street celebrations when the news broke about the attacks on 9/11.

In 2011, there were celebrations in Gaza when they learned that five Israeli civilians – including three children, one a three months old baby -were literally butchered by Palestinian terrorists in Itamar.

A Palestinian man offers sweets to a woman in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on March 12, 2011 to celebrate an attack which killed five Israelis (Getty Images)

More recently, upon hearing of the abduction of three Israeli teens last month, some Palestinians handed out candy in the streets and posted messages lauding the incident on social media sites and in the state-run media.

University students in Birzeit University distribute sweets in celebration of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers.

University students in Birzeit University distribute sweets in celebration of the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers.

Also, a video recently surfaced showing “hundreds of Arabs” celebrating ‘the attack on occupied Palestine’ atop the Temple Mount after hearing bomb sirens in Jerusalem on the first day of the war.

Indeed, just yesterday, according to Times of Israel, Channel 2 showed footage of Palestinian youths dancing and cheering in Gaza “minutes after a heavy rocket barrage was launched at the greater Tel Aviv area”.

So, while Palestinians have often celebrated lethal attacks on innocent Jewish civilians, Indy readers are evidently supposed to be shocked when a few dozen Sderot residents celebrate IDF attacks on a terrorist group committed to their country’s destruction? 

The UK media’s moral myopia, as with their seemingly unlimited capacity to impute malevolence to Israelis, is at times staggering.

Read Adam Levick’s latest article in The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article in the Jewish Chronicle:

“You have to keep an eye on who you are following on Twitter and where the picture you’re tweeting came from,” warned a BBC journalist in a short video that accompanied an article posted on BBC Trending, a section on the corporation’s website which selects stories that are popular on social media around the world.

The article was entitled, “Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?”, and looked at images shared on social media by pro-Palestinian activists during the current war in Gaza.

The short post focused on the above Twitter hashtag, which, the BBC noted, “has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects of the air strikes”.

The BBC warned that a “BBC Trending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq”.

Read the rest of the article here.

George Galloway caught in a Twitter Fautography

If those on the political right wanted to invent a caricature of their far-left political opponents (of the Red-Green Alliance variety), it would look something like George Galloway MP.  

Between his obsessive hatred of Israelis, his embrace of both Islamist extremists (like Hamas and Hezbollah) and secular Arab tyrants (Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad come to mind), and his decidedly anti-feminist stance on sexual assaults, Galloway is a poster child for the pathos which continues to infect sections of the once proud anti-racist, anti-totalitarian, progressive movement in the UK.  

Earlier today, as part of his social media advocacy on behalf of Hamas’s efforts to defeat the ‘Zionist entity’, he re-Tweeted the following from a pro-Palestinian propagandist who – her timeline demonstrates – continually Tweets old images of Palestinians casualties and passes them off as photos taken during the current war.

galloway

The problem of course is that the photo (whatever its origins) appears to be at least 8 years old.

Indeed, though it’s hard to trace the precise origin of the photo (as we were unable to find the image used by a reputable news source), it’s quite tellingly used frequently by anti-Israel extremists online, as indicated by the first three results in our Google search of the image.

2006

In fact, there have been multiple reTweets by Galloway over the last 24 hours (to his 182,000 followers) sold as current, but which go back many years.

Here’s another one he reTweeted earlier, but which dates back to 2012.

2012

Oh, and one more thing: it should be noted that the Bradford West MP continues to have op-eds published at the Guardian.

galloway

Sunday Times journo gets caught with a Twitter faxutography

Courtesy of blogger JudgeDan, here’s a tweet by Sunday Times ‘award winning’ reporter Hala Jaber:

faux

 As Dan pointed out, the photo was from the Gaza War in November 2012.

Here’s her apology:

Though not quite at the level of the fautography of the BBC’s Jon Donnison exposed by BBC Watch in 2012, Jaber’s carelessness represents more evidence of the necessity of monitor groups and citizen journalists holding journalists accountable to professional, accurate and ethical reporting within the social media and more traditional media.   

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment

Last night the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont tweeted an article from Haaretz/Reuters about a new UN report (obtained by Reuters) on the shipment of rockets intercepted in the Red Sea by the Israeli Navy in March. 

Here’s the text of Beaumont’s Tweet:

“Despite Israeli claims, UN panel decides missiles on the seized ship Kos were for Sudan NOT Gaza

However, here’s headline to the Haaretz story by Louis Charbonneau, published earlier in the day, that Beaumont linked to:

‘UN panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza

First, note Beaumont’s distortion of the Haaretz headline.  Though the headline only claimed, per the article, that the UN had determined that the ship itself (carrying the arms) was heading for Sudan, Beaumont twisted it to appear as if the UN had concluded that the arms (that the ship was carrying) were destined for Sudan – and not Gaza.

Indeed, if you read the article you’d see that the UN panel didn’t even address the question concerning the final destination of the arms, and certainly didn’t conclude that they were not heading for Gaza.  The article in fact noted Sudan’s role as a conduit for arms to Gaza.

The experts do not speculate in the report about why the arms were being sent to Sudan, a country which Western diplomatic and intelligence sources have told Reuters has in the past been a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to other locations in Africa, as well as the Gaza Strip.

In fact, the article clearly states that the UN report was primarily concerned with the narrow question of whether Iran was responsible for the shipment of arms, and thus in violation of the international arms embargo.

A UN expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday.

“The Panel finds that the manner of concealment in this case is consistent with several other cases reported to the (Security Council’s Iran Sanctions) Committee and investigated by the Panel,” the experts said.

“The Panel concludes that the shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747,” they added, referring to the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran.

Indeed, the IDF never claimed - at the time of the interception – that the ship itself was heading to Gaza, only that the arms on the ship were to be smuggled by land from Sudan into Gaza via the Sinai.

 

Beaumont’s tweet twisted the text of the Haaretz/Reuters article to make it appear as if the UN had ruled out Gaza as a final destination for the arms – a distortion pointed out by a few Tweeters, including Yiftah Curiel (Spokesperson of the Israel Embassy in London), Peter Lerner (IDF Spokesman), Judge Dan (blogger at Israellycool) and this writer. 

twitter

twitter 2

It doesn’t appear as if Beaumont has thus far responded to any of his critics.

Update: At some point following my reply (above) to Beaumont’s misleading Tweet, he blocked my account.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 25)

This post is part of a series which re-focuses on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their professional moderators. All of the following comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

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Here’s phindrup’s answer to the question “where will their [ISIS] killing stop?”

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None of these reader comments have been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 20)

This post is part of a series which re-focuses on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators. All of the following comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Guardian commenter with the moniker, ‘NormBlunt‘.

10 June, 3:26pm

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Guardian commenter with the moniker, ferdous87

12 June, 2:20am

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Guardian commenter with the moniker, ‘monkie‘.

11 June, 7:18pm

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Guardian commenter with the moniker ‘Chomskyfan.

12 June, 6:51am

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Again, these comments have NOT been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 18)

This post is part of a series which will re-focus on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators.

All of the following reader comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

It starts here with a commenter with the moniker ‘StephenStafford‘:

09 June, 6:43pm

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The thread continues with a commenter named Morgenrot.

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Again, none of these comments have been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

 

Lost in in Translation? Guardian omits key word in Israeli Facebook page (Updated)

CAMERA consistently demonstrates (with their ‘Lost in Translation‘ series) that news reports which include an erroneous translation can completely alter the meaning or political context of the events being described. And, a recent Guardian story, which notes a marginal Israeli Facebook page provides a good example of such misreporting. 

The report by Orlando Crowcroft (‘Israeli leader meets families of missing teenagers as search continues, June 17th) notes the social media battles being waged by Israeli and Palestinian activists over the terrorist kidnapping of three Israeli teens last Thursday:

The battle is not only being waged by the IDF inside the West Bank, but on social media, where an outpouring of rival hashtags, comments and campaigns have revealed how strongly the incident has resonated with Israelis and Palestinians.

The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has featured in thousands of tweets from both Israel and abroad since news of the disappearance of Yifrach, Frankel and Shaar broke on Friday, referencing the global Twitter campaign calling for the release of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by rebel group Boko Haram earlier this year.

Crowcroft then pivots to the ‘less benign’ social media campaigns:

Not all the online responses to the incident have been benign. A Facebook page calling for Israel to kill one Palestinian an hour until the three teenagers are returned has received more than 18,000 “likes” since it was set up on 13 June.

fb

However, as other media reports have indicated (and as a quick Google translate of the Facebook page would similarly demonstrate), the name of the page accurately translates to:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

Crowcroft omitted the word “terrorist” and added the word “Palestinian”. 

Remarkably, even Electronic Intifada got the translation correct in their story on the Facebook page.

To be clear, even the correct name renders the Facebook campaign morally offensive.  However, news consumers have the right to expect stories at putatively serious news sites which translate a foreign language into English not be compromised by such highly misleading and completely avoidable errors.

UPDATE: Following our complaint, the Guardian corrected the mistranslation.

UK journalist responds positively to criticism (Hint: he doesn’t work at the Guardian)

In an overall commendable article about Oxfam at The Telegraph (The Darker Side of Oxfam, Feb. 5), Jake Wallis Simons wrote the following:

“In December, a controversial bill was passed [in the Knesset] which would levy a 45 percent on donations from foreign organisations or governments to NGOs that support BDS, demand Israeli soldiers to be tried in international courts, or support terrorism against Israel.”

The only problem, as Gidon Shaviv of Presspectiva (CAMERA’s Hebrew affiliate) immediately realized, was that the bill did not in fact become law.  This prompted the following exchange on Twitter:

screen captureNot only did Simons thank Shaviv for the information (backed up with an article about the bill in question), but he revised the passage accordingly.

Simons’ positive response to Shaviv’s Tweet is especially worth noting in light of the manner in which editors at the Guardian and other British newspapers often stubbornly resist making changes to articles with even the most obvious distortions or errors.  

Journalists and editors in the UK would be wise to heed Simons’ example, and view the work CAMERA and its affiliates undertake to promote media accuracy as consistent with the value of accountability that their crusading journalists are often demanding of others.

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