Sunday, 27 December 2009

Love of the Land: Impossible to Verify, But We'll Publish It Anyway

Impossible to Verify, But We'll Publish It Anyway

Honest Reporting/Backspin
27 December 09

We can't verify this horrifying accusation, but we'll publish it anyway. That's the gist of this snippet by Daily Telegraph reporter Adrian Blomfield. He writes from Gaza:

But reliving her son's death a year later, there is another, more harrowing detail that preys on Mrs Awaja's mind. She says that as she hid behind a wall while her husband limped away to find help, Israeli soldiers used Ibrahim's corpse, which was lying in a road, as target practice.

"Each time the bullets would hit, his body leapt up off the road a little bit," she said. "It was as though he could still feel the pain even though he was already dead."

It is allegations such as these - almost impossible to verify - that have caused much damage to Israel's international reputation.

Memo to Blomfield: It's not the allegations themselves that cause much damage to Israel's reputation. It's reporters like you who damage Israel's reputation by giving unverified allegations unwarranted credibility and publicity.

What journalism value is met by including this in such a dispatch?

Ordinary Gazans like Kamal Awaja don't have the courage to tell reporters like Blomfield about the homes used as cover for rocket fire, the mosques used as weapons dumps, or the hospitals commandeered by Hamas leaders. This is another great example of what I call tear-jerking journalism.

Love of the Land: Impossible to Verify, But We'll Publish It Anyway

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