How our media blew a story

In 2010, Egyptian officials claimed that shark attacks were a Mossad plot to disrupt tourism to the Sinai. More recently, Palestinian Arabs have blamed Israel for crop damage by wild pigs. Indeed, there is a Wikipedia entry devoted to Arab Zoological conspiracy theories, of which these are representative.

We laugh — gullible Arabs that believe this stuff, and their media that promulgates it! But how much better is American media?

When this week’s riots in which Americans were murdered and embassies destroyed broke out, national outlets like the AP reported that the film-maker responsible for “Innocence of Muslims” was “Israeli born” and the film was funded by “100 Jewish donors.” It soon turned out that this was false; and while some media updated their stories, many did not for several days.

The story now has legs, and is running around the world while the truth is still putting its pants on. The whole thing could have been avoided by careful fact-checking before going public with the fanciful story of the nonexistent “Sam Bacile.”

But that’s not the only way our media have blown this story. Following the administration’s line, many news stories today are still blaming an idiotic amateur film (if there even is a complete film behind the snippets on Youtube) for the coordinated, almost simultaneous riots around the world. Hillary Clinton called the film ‘disgusting’, its maker was brought in for questioning about a a possible parole violation, and the US asked Google to suppress it (Google said no).

But the film was a pretext and “Islamophobia” had little or nothing to do with the disturbances. In general, the goal was to boost the position of radical Islamists in many nations against moderate or nationalist forces. There is no better way to do this than a good anti-Western (especially US) outburst, and any excuse that works will be exploited.

The media are downplaying this angle, because it suggests that the administration policy toward the Muslim world expressed in the President’s Cairo speech of 2009 is dangerously wrong-headed, and because it supports the idea that free expression in the US should be limited in accordance with Muslim concerns, something the Administration also seems to believe.

This story is just one example. There are plenty more. If our media — with a few exceptions, like (sometimes) the Washington Post — could concentrate more on serious journalism and less on re-electing the President, the American people might be better informed than Egyptians reading about Mossad-controlled sharks and Zionist boars.

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One Response to “How our media blew a story”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    A retraction is in order, but even a retraction cannot cancel the damage caused by initial publication.
    As for the haters they will always find some semblance of fact to built incredible fantasies on.
    It is almost as if the whole of the Middle East needs an education in ‘how to think’.