More AP Errors, No AP Corrections

The Associated Press continues a disturbing pattern of refusing to correct errors and producing unbalanced reports on the Middle East.

CAMERA has exposed how AP reporters have:

  • justified suicide bombings as “revenge bombings“;
  • fallaciously claimed that Israel confined three million Palestinians to their homes (despite numerous AP photos showing otherwise);
  • described 86 American citizens killed by Palestinian terrorists as “49 Americans . . . caught in the crossfire“;
  • inaccurately described terrorist groups that attack and kill innocent men, women and children as “militias“;
  • downplayed Hamas’ responsibility for terror;
  • reported that Palestinian terrorists are “shocked” at the killing of children; 
  • whitewashed incriminating comments made by United Nations officials;
  • misrepresented U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and the Fourth Geneva Convention;
  • and reported false Hezbollah claims as news.

None of the above errors have been corrected.

Two additional, recent – and uncorrected – errors can be added to this list.

After a Hezbollah bombing claimed the life of an Israeli soldier in the Chebaa Farms, numerous Associated Press reports placed this slaying in southern Lebanon. “A Hezbollah bomb attack killed an Israeli soldier near the border in southern Lebanon,” noted AP’s Hussein Dakroub. “The Israeli officer was a commander of the military post targeted by Hezbollah guerrillas inside the disputed Chebaa Farms.” (“French officer killed by Israeli shelling near Lebanese-Israeli border after Hezbollah attack kills Israeli soldier,” 1/9/05).

This is inaccurate. The soldier was not killed in southern Lebanon.

Although Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah claimed after the withdrawal that Israel’s presence in the Chebaa Farms is an occupation of Lebanese land, and that consequently its attacks on Israel are justified. United Nations cartographers studied the issue closely, leading to a certification by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan – and confirmation by the U.N. Security Council – that Israel did indeed fully withdraw from Lebanese territory. According to the United Nations, Chebaa Farms is Golan Heights land which Israel conquered from Syria in the 1967 war, and thus is not part of Lebanon at all.

It’s not that the AP is unaware of these facts. The same Dakroub article specified:

Lebanon, backed by Syria, claims the area. Israel captured the territory when its forces seized Syria’s Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war. The United Nations says the region is Syrian and that Syria and Israel should negotiate its fate.

In reporting that the Chebaa Farms is in southern Lebanon, then, the AP is choosing Hezbollah’s narrative (in which supposed Israeli occupation of foreign territory justifies violence) over the carefully investigated conclusions of the international community.

Another uncorrected error points to sloppy fact checking at AP.

On Jan. 5, 2005, reporter Mark Lavie wrote:

Two settler leaders are being investigated on suspicion of inciting soldiers to disobey orders, the Justice Ministry said Wednesday. One is Noam Livnat, whose brother, Limon, is education minister from the Likud Party.

The name of Israel’s education minister is Limor, not Limon. And since Ms. Livnat is a woman, she is Noam’s sister, not his brother.

Such details about the education minister are certainly not of substantive consequence, but AP’s refusal to correct the errors – a measure most mainstream print media would readily take – is telling.

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