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Media Analyses





Updated: CNN Corrects False Report About Arrest of Palestinians


2 p.m. EST Update: Following communication from CAMERA, CNN Commenably Corrects

7:30 a.m. EST -- In recent weeks, CNN has had to backtrack on many of its false and inaccurate reports concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Today's coverage of the overnight evacuation of a Palestinian protest tent camp in the contentious E-1 area of the West Bank, between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, is yet another story which requires retractions. Below is a screen shot of the article, with the erroneous headline "Israeli police clear West Bank protest camp, arrest dozens," as it currently appears:

 

The first paragraph reads: "Hundreds of Israeli police swarmed a makeshift Palestinian protest camp pre-dawn Sunday and arrested activists, an operation that marked the latest saga in the bitter back-and-forth over Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank."

The CNN story highlights also repeats the false claim that "more than 60 were arrested, police say." The police said no such thing.

According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, no arrests were made -- a statement reported in other media outlets and which he confirmed to CAMERA as well. He said a number of activists were detained briefly, then released.

According to Al Jazeera, hardly a source known for reporting skewed in Israel's favor:

Several activists were detained during Sunday morning eviction, including Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, reporting from Jerusalem, said.

Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson, reporting from Jerusalem, said the activists who were detained were driven to Qalandiya checkpoint and then released.

(On the same Al Jazeera page you can listen to an interview with Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative and a leader in the E-1 protests, less than two hours after the evacuation, as he and other activists are being driven to Qalandiya checkpoint on their way to being released. He claims that he and the others were arrested and says he does not know where they were being taken. If he was actually under arrest, as he falsely claimed, how could he be giving a media interview?)

As the CNN story itself acknowledges, seven paragraphs down: "Around 5 a.m. Sunday (10 p.m. ET Saturday), all those detained had been released, said activist Abir Kopty." But most casual readers would see only the erroneous headline, and possibly also the inaccurate story highlights, or misleading first paragraph, not the seventh paragraph.

2 p.m. EST Update: Following communication from CAMERA, CNN Commenably Corrects

Following communication with CAMERA staff, CNN editors promptly corrected the headline, first paragraph and one of the story highlights. The updated article now appears as follows:
 
 
The changes are as follows:
 

Headline

Before
Israeli police clear West Bank protest camp, arrest dozens
After
Israeli police clear West Bank protest camp, question dozens
 

First Paragraph

Before
Hundreds of Israeli police swarmed a makeshift Palestinian protest camp pre-dawn Sunday and arrested activists . . .
After
Hundreds of Israeli police swarmed a makeshift Palestinian protest camp early Sunday morning, taking dozens of activists into custody for questioning before releasing them later.
 

Story Highlight

Before More than 500 police were involved, and more than 60 were arrested, police say
After More than 60 activists were taken into custody, then later released, police say

CAMERA commends CNN for its prompt and thorough correction. At this time, we are fact-checking the photograph's caption, which states, "Israeli border policemen arrest a Palestinian man on his way to join a protest camp on January 12."

See also "CiF Watch Prompts Guardian Correction: Palestinian Activists Not Arrested"


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