Dec 16, 2004

Throwing Stones

On Jan 7 2004, HonestReporting published a communique entitled Throwing Stones. In it, they complain about an incident in Nablus where the media reported a Palestinian boy was killed while throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. HonestReporting contends that it's inaccurate for the media to use the word "stones", since an IDF spokeman claimed that the boy was "dropping large bricks on soldiers". Their communique contains a picture of two young men throwing large cinderblocks from an upper story of a building.

Yet, this picture is not from the incident in Nablus where the boy was killed and HonestReporting goes through some pains to hide this fact. First, they put a deceptive caption on the photo which reads "Here's an actual scene of stone-throwing "protest" in Nablus".

Why doesn't HonestReporting simply write "Here's a scene of a stone-throwing "protest" in Nablus" or better yet, "Here's a scene of a different stone-throwing "protest" in Nablus". By leaving out the definite article before "stone-throwing" and by adding the word "actual", HonestReporting is able to create some ambiguity as to whether or not this is a picture taken during the incident when the boy was killed.

HonestReporting then lists two news organizations that it claims "completely ignored the IDF's actual version" (that the boy was throwing cinderblocks instead of stones). Yet, when reading the articles, I was surprised to find statements from IDF sources using the word "stones" in each of them. The Reuters article stated that "An Israeli military source said soldiers in Nablus opened fire in response to a barrage of stones thrown by dozens of protesters". The AP article stated "On Saturday, troops opened fire at a large number of Palestinians throwing stones, an army spokesman said."

HonestReporting then states that "These news reports adopt the Palestinian version as if it were established fact".

How can HonestReporting claim that it's the "Palestinian version" when an IDF spokesperson also stated it? After all, both Reuters and the AP specifically state that the "stone throwing" statement was made by an Israeli spokesman.

Does HonestReporting bother reading any of the articles that their communiques refer to?