Jan 26 update: A Yahoo spokesperson has informed CAMERA that MintPress News has now been blocked. See details here.
About a year ago, CAMERA raised concerns
after Yahoo's promoted a virulent hate site that specializes in Holocaust denial and Sept. 11 conspiracy theories. We contacted Yahoo officials at the time, including CEO Marissa Meyer, and called on the media giant to "quickly remedy" this serious problem.
But the influential internet giant has not remedied the problem. This month, Yahoo shared on its front page content from yet another anti-Jewish, 9/11 conspiracy site and with it, predictably, glaring falsehoods.
As was the case last year when it promoted the hate site Veterans News Now, Yahoo seems to have been drawn in by the fringe site's anti-Israel calumny. "Israel Tortures Palestinian Children; Keeps Them In Outdoor Cages in Winter: Rights Group," claims a headline by a new website calling itself American Herald Tribune, cross-posted by the "murky" and "obscure" Mint Press, and given entry into the mainstream by the gatekeepers at Yahoo.
Let's put aside for a moment the inaccurate charges in the article after all, falsehoods at the unvisited corners of the internet are hardly surprising and focus first on the identity of the website Yahoo seems to think deserves mainstream respectability and front-page prominence.
American Herald Tribune (AHT), which appeared suddenly in October 2015, is so obscure that even Google searches for the name at the time of this writing yield virtually nothing. There is one glaring exception to its anonymity Mint Press posted AHT articles four times over a span of five days this month:
The American Herald Tribune website is registered to Tim King, who also happens to be founder of the crackpot Salem-news.com site and a contributor to the rabidly anti-Semitic Veterans Today, a hate site affiliated with none other than Veterans News Now, which Yahoo promoted last year.
American Herald Tribune's output is exactly what one would expect from a site with such unseemly associates.
Attacks on the Jews:
(Tim King's other website, Salem-news.com, is even more anti-Jewish than American Herald Tribune.)
Conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 and other terror attacks:
Conspiracy theories about the Israeli government paying Nazis:
And an assortment of more prosaic Israel hatred.
Once again, Yahoo owes its users an explanation about why it legitimizes and promotes a fringe hate and conspiracy site.
But Yahoo was unresponsive to reader complaints in 2008 about a Yahoo page that claimed "judaism glorifies genocide" and "Orthodox jews consider mass-murder to be very honorable" [sic]. And it was unresponsive to concerns about its promotion of the Holocaust-denial site Veterans News Now. Will it finally vindicate itself and address concerns that it continues to promote extremism?
About Those Palestinian Children in Cages
Not only does Yahoo slip hateful extremism onto the public's reading lists, but with it, extreme disinformation.
Recall the headline Yahoo splashed on its homepage for countless readers to see: "Israel Tortures Palestinian Children; Keeps Them In Outdoor Cages in Winter: Rights Group."
The canard that Israel has a policy of keeping Palestinian kids in cages was used as an attack against Israel two years ago. Also two years ago, it was quickly debunked.
To capture just how twisted Yahoo's featured article is, it's necessary to look a bit further back down the winding path the story took on the way to the internet giant's popular front page, a path on which material from one extremist site was further distorted by another.
The article's opening passage originates with a November 2014 piece by the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), citing allegations by the Palestinian Prisoners Society. IMEMC is a purveyor of anti-Israel commentary founded by the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between Peoples, a group that helped create the extremist International Solidarity Movement.
Ben Norton, a pro-BDS activist, picked up the story from IMEMC, and began his November 2014 article with the following sentence:
According to a November report by the independent, non-governmental, human rights organization the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC), at least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in Jerusalem alone in the past five months.
Compare that to the opening passage of the AHT article shared by Mint Press and Yahoo:
Following a November 2015 report by the independent, in which it quoted NGO rights organization the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC) that at least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in Jerusalem alone in the first half of 2015 and that roughly 40% were sexually abused, a new January 2016 report was also issued by the Independent, this time saying that the Israeli government is torturing children and keeping them in outdoor cages during winter time.
American Herald Tribune appears to have taken Ben Norton's reference and freely changed it to make it appear more timely and authoritative, with November 2014 becoming November 2015 and an independent NGO becoming the The Independent, a mainstream British newspaper.
The AHT website makes its story appear even more timely by referring to a January 2016 report in The Independent about children being kept in cages. But there is no such report. Quotes in the AHT piece come from a January 2014 Independent article a piece that the newspaper formally corrected as a result of CAMERA's intervention to note that references to prisoners temporarily held in outdoor cells those would be the "cages" "did not refer specifically to Palestinians."
In short there is no credible story, and no new story, about any Israel policy of keeping Palestinian children in cages. And had Yahoo not enmeshed itself with a loony conspiracy website run by a crank publisher of anti-Jewish bigotry, it would not have convinced trusting readers otherwise.
Those readers, along with all Yahoo users, employees, and shareholders, deserve answers from the organization. Why is Yahoo pushing doctored, false information on readers? Why does it continue to promote fringe hate sites? Who at the organization is responsible for its association with anti-Israel extremism? And most importantly, what are officials doing to make sure this irresponsible behavior stops?