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|Prix 2008 du Reportage malhonnête (Honest Reporting)|
Au début de l’année, le Hamas a marqué quelques points sur le plan de la propagande avec un blackout auto-organisé au cours duquel ont été diffusées dans les journaux du monde entier de nombreuses photos de personnes s’éclairant à la bougie. Une photo, en particulier, fut prise par Reuters et publiée dans Time.
Il suffit de prêter attention à la lumière du soleil entre les rideaux tirés, visible sur le cliché, pour comprendre que la session [du Parlement palestinien] a eu lieu pendant la journée.
Et alors que la légende de Reuters ne spécifie pas qu’il fait nuit, le Time écrivait :
« Blackout : l’embargo israélien a privé la bande de Gaza d’électricité. Le Parlement palestinien a été obligé de se réunir à la lumière des bougies dans la nuit de mardi.
Par la suite, le Time a modifié sa légende.
Le correctif le plus boiteux : City TV
En août, Gord Martineau, présentateur-vedette de City TV (Canada) rapporta faussement que Tsahal avait tué 11 palestiniens au cours d’affrontements anti-barrière de sécurité, à Nilin. Quand Honest Reporting Canada entama une action, City TV publia un "correctif", le 18 août, en l’espèce d’un commentaire succinct inclus dans une autre dépêche sur un écran défilant pendant la diffusion d’un programme consacré au Moyen Orient :
« le reportage de CNI (City News International ) de MER INDIQUAIT 11 TUES AU COURS D’AFFRONTEMENTS EN CISJORDANIE, IL Y A EU PLUS DE 11 BLESSES, MAIS PAS DE TUES »
Un correctif plus approprié aurait dû être émis verbalement par le présentateur. En fait, il fut si honteusement enterré que de nombreux lecteurs, qui regardaient la vidéo que nous avions mise en ligne, l’ont complètement manqué et ont cru que nous avions fourni un lien vers une autre émission.
La vérification des faits la plus négligée : Boston Globe
Les éditeurs du Boston Globe n’ont pas pris la peine d’effectuer un double contrôle des chiffres lorsque Eyad al Sarraj et Sara Roy écrivaient, en février :
Bien que Gaza ait besoin de 680.000 tonnes de farine pour nourrir sa population, Israël a réduit ce montant à 90 tonnes par jour, soit une réduction de 99 %.
Nul besoin d’être un génie en mathématiques pour calculer que si Gaza a une population de 1,5 million d’habitants, comme le notent également les auteurs, 680.000 tonnes de farine par jour représentent presque une demi-tonne par jour et par Gazaoui.
Le correctif publié au bas de la page Web du Globe, fut également, et à juste titre, mis en cause par Kramer :
Le "correctif" stipulant qu’il s’agissait de livres et non de tonnes est une tentative de couvrir le péché originel des auteurs : ils se sont contentés de copier directement les chiffres de Ahram Weekly (qui, de toute façon, n’utilise pas la livre mais le système métrique). Le Boston Globe devrait s’adresser aux auteurs et leur demander l’origine exacte de leurs chiffres : cela s’appelle le contrôle des faits.
Sarraj et Roy ont droit à leurs opinions, mais même les éditoriaux doivent être basés sur une information exacte.
Poison Pen Award: Emad Hajjaj
The downsizing of American newspapers is hitting cartoonists. Along with reporters, Western cartoonists now focus locally more than ever. So compared to recent years, 2008 saw fewer cartoons about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This year’s poison pen award goes to Emad Hajjaj, of Jordan’s Al-Ghad newspaper.
A Palestinian graphically crucified on an electrical pole plays to the lowest prejudices. You’d think Muslims would be more sensitive to religiously offensive cartoons.
Not only did a judge rule against France 2 in its defamation suit against media critic Philippe Karsenty, the network’s long-covered-up raw footage from the day Mohammed al-Dura died was also posted on YouTube.
Adding insult to injury, Charles Enderlin, who narrated the internationally broadcast images, nearly lost his Israeli press credentials.
The Guardian’s Israel and the Palestinian territories page features a list of ’’Useful Links,’’ including the ’’Hamas military wing.’’ The link goes directly to an English language site of ’’Ezedeen Al-Qassam Brigades,’’ which describes itself as ’’the armed branch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).’’
Why give Hamas the legitimacy of a link? How can The Guardian equate the so-called ’’military wing’’ with sites like the Knesset, Haaretz, Gush Shalom, Bitterlemons, and UN relief agencies, among others? Does the link break British laws, which proscribe Hamas as a terror organization? Could The Guardian become culpable for terror?
David McKie, filling in for regular readers’ editor Siobhain Butterworth, weakly responded:
Hamas is a significant player in the region in terms of politics and power and it was felt appropriate to include a link to their website.
The link remains; we await a more adequate reply.
Most Morally Blind (UK): The Economist
During the year, the MSM often characterized Palestinian rocket fire and IDF efforts to curb the Qassams as "tit-for-tat." But The Economist entered a new realm somewhere between The Twilight Zone and Star Trek:
THE latest round of fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement, showed how mere chance can make events spin out of control. In the preceding weeks exchanges of Palestinian rockets and Israeli missile attacks on Gaza, in which cause and effect had merged into a seamless continuum, had intensified.
The Economist’s view -- that the conflict has no rational beginning, existence, or end -- excuses readers from making any judgments. Worse, this language breeds further terror.
Most Morally Blind (Collegiate): The Emory Wheel
The Emory Wheel (pdf format) featured a cartoon by student Dylan Woodliff. Strangely enough, Woodliff felt compelled to write a four-paragraph, 251-word "explanation" alongside it:
I have no intention of inciting a connection with the Holocaust . . .
Well, that was the whole point of the cartoon. At least editors gave Professor Deborah Lipstadt a right of response.
Most Morally Blind (USA): Los Angeles Times
As Israelis watched nervously from across the border, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip staged parallel protests Monday against the Jewish state, placing a few thousand placard-waving demonstrators along the main highway and firing 11 rockets into Israel.
How can the Times possibly equate a peaceful human chain with rocket fire?
Biggest Snit: Johann Hari
In advance of Israel’s 60th anniversary, columnist Johann Hari of The Independent crudely (and literally) compared Israel to excrement. HonestReporting responded, but Hari dug in his heels, accused us, our colleagues at CAMERA, Melanie Phillips and Alan Dershowitz of smearing Israel’s critics and suppressing free speech. HonestReporting fired back, as did Melanie Phillips and other bloggers who joined the dustup.
The result: HonestReporting’s biggest snit of the year, leaving us with a welcome spike in page views, but no satisfactory response from Hari.
Most Insane Holiday Greeting: Channel 4
UK’s Channel 4 decked the halls with boughs of folly by inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give the annual "alternative Christmas message."
Alternative messages in recent years were given by the likes of 9/11 survivor Genelle Guzman, Afghan war veteran Sgt. Major Andrew Stockton, even Sharon Osbourne and Marge Simpson. They never advocated wiping Israel off the map.
Dumbest Headline (USA): New York Times
Imad Mugniyeh’s quarter-century of dirty deeds includes the truck bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, hijacking TWA flight 847, blowing up the AMIA building and Israeli embassy (both in Buenos Aires), kidnapping Terry Anderson, murdering William Buckley and William Higgins, and the Khobar Towers bombing.
So by the time the Hezbollah commander died an appropriate death -- blown to pieces in a booby-trapped car -- there was no doubt he deserved the title "terrorist." Yet this NY Times headline said:
Bomb In Syria Kills Militant Sought As Terrorist
Dumbest Headline (Europe): Avriani
Looking at the US elections, Avriani, a Greek daily, came up with this headline:
The anticipated victory of Obama in US elections signals the end of the Jewish domination - Everything changes in USA and we hope that it will be more democratic and humane
(Translation by the Athens News Agency.)
Ugliest Rationalization For a Blood Libel: Roland Jabbour
He said he would not call Jews the offspring of apes and pigs, but that in the context of "the crimes of the state of Israel" it was reasonable for al-Manar to do so and to portray Israeli rabbis as killing Christian children to use their blood in Passover meals.
Most Appalling Birthday Tribute: Al Jazeera
The MSM slobbered over celebrity birthdays like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince Charles, but Al-Jazeera’s fawning fete for Samir Quntar took the cake. The video must be seen to be believed (cliquez sur le Logo ci-dessous pour visionner la répugnante fête organisée en l’honnneur de ce meurtrier).
Quntar was convicted of murdering Danny Haran, his four-year-old daughter, and a policeman in a 1979 terror attack. Haran’s two-year old daughter also died when her mother accidentally smothered her to keep her from crying while hiding. Shortly before his birthday, Israel released Quntar in a swap with Hezbollah for the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
Biggest Range of Problems: BBC
Readers vented a shockingly wide array of problems.
Some complaints focused on coverage glorifying George Habash, a video equating Rafik Hariri and Imad Mughniyeh as "great national leaders" (the Beeb apologized), a revisionist look at Israel’s 60th birthday, a so-called eyewitness report that instead raised eyebrows, the Jerusalem bulldozer rampage (another apology), even an entertainment piece about Paul McCartney which somehow squeezed this sentence in:
Israel says the barrier, the route of which was declared illegal by the international court in the Hague in 2004, is for its security, but the Palestinians say it is a device to grab land.
Other readers, however, touched on deeper flaws: rehashing old news, Trevor Asserson’s special report (pdf format) detailing problems with BBC Arabic, the Beeb’s continuing cover-up of the Balen report, habitually choosing fringe Jews to "represent Israel," a BBC charity giving money to an organization that funded propaganda for the 7/7 bombers (Hanif Malik just filed a libel suit), and last -- but not least -- an utterly incomprehensible complaints system. Enough said.
Dishonest Reporter of 2008: Lauren Booth
Once in a while, reporters cross a line from covering a story to becoming part of it. Usually - like in Los Angeles and Chicago - it’s due to an ethical lapse. But what if a journalist with an axe to grind deliberately becomes a part of the story?
That’s what happened with Daily Mail columnist Lauren Booth. Although she’s well-known for being the sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, lesser known is the fact that she works for Iran’s satellite news channel, Press TV – meaning Booth’s on the Iranian payroll.
In August, Booth joined two boatloads of protesters sailing to Gaza for what was essentially a Free Gaza Movement publicity stunt. She was quite open about her dual role as both activist and reporter. The BBC caught up with Booth before she set sail:
Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who is now an international envoy to the Middle East, tells me she is travelling as both supporter and reporter.
"I dearly want to go to Gaza again to support the Palestinians and to show the world the reality of what’s going on there".
Then she stranded herself in the Strip.
Eventually, the Briton sought to leave by land, only to be rebuffed by Israel and Egypt. For security reasons, Israeli law forbids the entry of foreigners from Gaza who entered the strip illegally. (Two Israeli citizens, activist Jeff Halper and reporter Amira Hass did return to Israel through the border crossing; both may face legal action.) Egypt never explained its initial refusal to Booth.
Stuck in Gaza, Booth continued her so-called "journalism." In one particularly galling interview with George Galloway, she described Gaza as a "concentration camp," adding, the situation is "a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."
Even before the war, everybody agreed Gaza was in bad shape, but Booth’s exaggerated sound-bites ultimately did a disservice to the Palestinians, insulted the victims of the Holocaust, and trivialized the estimated 750,000 Darfuris who were killed or became refugees.
Before the recent conflict, photos like these didn’t indicate wide-scale food shortages remotely resembling Darfur or Nazi Europe. Booth never had any intention of covering Gaza. She wanted to be a part of the story.
We respect Booth’s right to be active in the causes of her choice. But by trying to legitimize her jaunt through the veneer of respectable journalism, Lauren Booth shows she misses the boat again.
* * *
We covered a lot of ground in 2008.
And with help from readers, we’ll continue to monitor and hold the media to account in 2009.
Mis en ligne le 12 février 2009, par