As Operation Pillar of Defense continues, here are the Top 5 Media Fails as HonestReporting inaugurates its Hall of Shame.
1. Jon Donnison, BBC
for retweeting a dramatic photo of two children wounded in war without making any effort to verify the photo’s authenticity.
Turns out the children were wounded in Syria and the photo first appeared Oct. 28.
He later apologized for the retweet…
but with the original retweet going out to more than 7,000 followers and receiving nearly 100 retweets of its own, the apology was too little too late to undo the damage.
2. BBC News
for refusing to acknowledge misleading its audience with fake footage of wounded Palestinians.
Almost as soon as Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense, the Pallywood machine cranked into gear, creating fake images of Palestinians being evacuated after an Israeli strike. The footage appeared on BBC and CNN reports on the fighting.
CNN took steps after the fact to verify the footage with Reuters, which distributed it. And after failing to get a satisfactory answer, removed the footage and issued an apology.
The BBC, however, stood by the footage, claiming that the footage it ran was an edit from a longer reel. The footage that appeared on the site, however, bore all of trademarks of similar attempts to fake footage on the day of the Mohammed al-Dura incident.
3. Clayton Swisher, Al-Jazeera
for tweeting that Palestinian rocket attacks at Israeli civilians were legal under the laws of war.
In fact, if there is one aim to restricting what can and can’t be done during wartime, it is to protect the lives of civilians.
Swisher not only serves as an apologist for Hamas but also turns the concept of war crimes on its head.
It may be too much to expect journalists to accuse either side of war crimes. But to deny it is a step even beyond that.