AP’s ‘Circle Dance’

ALSO: CNN omits crucial point On Friday and Saturday (Sept. 23-24), Hamas fired 40 rockets from Gaza onto the southern Israeli town of Sderot, wounding five civilians. In covering the Israeli response to the rockets, Associated Press reporter Sara El Deeb filed two Sept. 25 dispatches that raised media monitors’ eyebrows:

? El Deeb’s 12:06 PM article contained this description of an IDF celebration:

… in an unprecedented step, Israel set up five artillery pieces on the border, and fired test-rounds into empty fields in northern Gaza in preparation for a possible artillery strike, causing no injuries. The Israeli soldiers danced in a circle after firing the artillery and sang a biblical song of revenge.

To anyone familiar with the professionalism of the IDF, this scene of a bloodthirsty ‘circle dance’ appears highly unlikely. Upon reporting such an unusual event, standard journalistic practice prescribes stating a reliable source, which El Deeb did not do.

HonestReporting contacted AP editors to request some corroboration of El Deeb’s claim, but as of this posting, none has arrived.

** UPDATE 9/28: HonestReporting has ascertained that a celebration scene did in fact take place following this IDF exercise. We remain perplexed by the lack of supporting information from AP in this article, and thank HR subscribers who joined us in the inquiry of this event.

? An earlier 9/25 El Deeb article blamed the Israeli response to the Hamas rocket salvo for ruining a supposed ‘ceasefire’:

The new [Israeli] offensive dubbed ‘Operation First Rain’ dashed hopes that Israel’s recently completed Gaza withdrawal would help restart peace talks and left a seven-month-old cease-fire teetering on the brink of collapse.

Whose offensive ‘dashed hopes’ of positive change?! And how exactly were 40 Hamas rockets fired during a ‘ceasefire’?

Join our inquiry to El Deeb’s ‘circle dance’ claim, and her reversal of chronology and responsibility for the recent Gaza violence, by sending comments to: feedback@ap.org

If your local paper carried either of these AP articles, HonestReporting encourages you to send a letter to your editor as well.

(Hat tip: Meryl Yourish)


In today’s CNN:

Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants have escalated since an explosion at a Hamas rally on Friday in Gaza that killed at least 19 people. Militants blamed the blast on Israel, which denied the claim.

CNN fails to mention that the Palestinian Authority concurred with Israel’s assessment that Hamas itself was to blame for Friday’s explosion. The omission leaves more doubt around the issue than is justified, especially given the fact that Hamas used this explosion as a pretext for its Kassam rocket attacks.

** UPDATE 9/28: In response to this HR communique, CNN updated its report to indicate that the PA doesn’t hold Israel accountable for the Jabaliya blast: ‘The Palestinian Authority announced that the blast was an accident, and was not Israel’s responsibility.’

Comments to CNN: click here

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.