With the FIFA World Cup about to kick off in Qatar, ready yourselves for a possible slew of sports, lifestyle and travel publications veering out of bounds with misinformed coverage touching on international affairs, a topic well outside these media outlets’ normal beat and area of expertise.
Breaking Travel News, which bills itself as “the leading online resource for travel industry executives from around the world,” gets an early start on the pre-games act, with a Sept. 9 article rife with factual errors and tendentious language demonizing Israel (“Qatar calls on Israel to allow Palestinians to attend FIFA World Cup“).
But the travel publication’s first error did not entail any kind of specialized knowledge. Indeed, the capital of a country is exactly the type of information that one would expect a travel publication to know. To be sure, a June 2020 Breaking Travel News article did correctly cite the “capital Jerusalem.”
Despite the fact that Israel’s capital has not relocated within the last two and a half years, Breaking Travel News now cites a new location for the Jewish state’s seat of government.
Indeed, the September World Cup article twice employs the journalistic shorthand of referring to a nation by its capital, wrongly citing Tel Aviv for Israel. Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is Israel’s capital.
Thus, the article errs:
Although Qatar does not have any formal ties with Israel, it is in talks withTel Avivto allow the occupation state to open a temporary consular office to support an estimated 10,000 Israeli football fans who are expected to make the trip to attend the football tournament. (Emphases added.)
A second erroneous reference to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital follows:
However, there is no indication that Doha will upgrade its ties with Tel Aviv until there is significant progress in ending the illegal occupation of Palestine. (Emphases added.)
Numerous media outlets including The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post , Associated Press, Reuters, Newsweek and The Guardian, among many others, have previously corrected this identical error citing Tel Aviv as shorthand for Israel, including in Arabic (see Al Hurra and CNN, BBC Arabic, along with Deutsche Welle Arabic).
In a second factual error, the Breaking Travel News article wrongly refers to the “illegal occupation of Palestine.” While Israel occupies parts of the disputed West Bank, the occupation is not illegal, a point acknowledged in corrections by The New York Times(three times), NBC, The Independent, Bloomberg, and AFP, among others.
Nor is it correct to refer to the West Bank as “Palestine,” a point corrected by the Associated Press, Voice of America, Los Angeles Times, and Reuters (including in Arabic), among many others.
In addition, the article uses completely partisan language to refer to Israel, demonizing it as an “occupation state” and an “apartheid state.”
Breaking Travel News, which promises “all the information insiders need to keep their fingers on the travel pulse,” has truly lost its compass, with seething anti-Israel hostility completely overriding the professional standards and ethics designed to navigate journalists through impartial, inaccurate coverage.